Three major betting organisations have had their appeal against fines imposed due to their operations in Sweden breaching regulations turned down by the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court.
Betfair, Betway and SkillOnNet are the brands that have received the news that the fines imposed by the Swedish gambling regulator back in 2019 will have to be paid, although with a couple of the penalties slightly adjusted in value.
Why Were The Trio Of Sites Found In Breach Of Regulations?
Somewhat unusually, the trio of sites were found to be in breach of a number of different rules in place when holding a license in Sweden.
In 2019, Betfair was found to have offered betting markets on sporting events which had the majority of participants under the age of 18.
In Sweden, betting companies are not allowed to offer betting markets on events that feature a majority of participants under the age if 18, as this is believed to increase the chances of youngster being tempted to trying underage betting and perhaps to even manipulate the outcome of the result of the game in order to allow themselves or others to profit.
Initially, Betfair had been fined SEK5.5m, the equivalent of around £437,000, but the operator took their case to the Court of Appeal in June 2021, after the first appeal was rejected by the Administrative Court in April 2020, and while the Court of Appeal upheld the decision, the fine was reduced to SEK4.5m.
Betway’s common use of bonuses to attract customers, which we identified as a positive in our Betway review, proved to be their undoing in Sweden due to the strict laws governing bonuses in that country.
In Sweden, a licensed operator can only offer one bonus to players, when they sign up with the company.
Once that bonus has been used by a customer, then legislation means that the operator cannot continue to offer bonuses to customers on the site.
However, as Betway customers in other parts of the world will be well aware, part of the appeal of the company is that they do offer a wide range of additional promotions alongside their Welcome Bonus, both for sports and esports, as well as for Betway’s Casino offering too.
That cut no ice with the Spelinspektionen in Sweden, who ruled that the company had breached their stringent bonus rules by offering several additional bonuses alongside the Welcome offer.
As a result, the Swedish regulator fined Betway SEK5m in May 2019.
Like Betfair, Betway appealed to the Administrative Court in June 2020, who found that the operator’s estimated annual turnover was too large and as a result, the fine was down-sized to SEK4.7m.
A further appeal in Jonkoping in June 2021 was rejected and this final ruling from the Supreme Administrative Coyrt means that the fine will still have to be paid.
By far the largest fine was handed out to SkillOnNet, who not only were adjudged to have offered bonuses in addition to their Welcome Bonus offer, but that they had also offered a number of lottery games on their site which were in breach of the terms of their license.
For that, the company received a SEK14m penalty.
An initial appeal in December 2020 failed and a subsequent appeal to the Court of Appeal was also turned down in January 2022.
This last decision means that SkillOnNet will now have to pay the penalty in full.