Betway fined by Swedish regulator
Betway and Mandalorian Technologies have been hit with fines totaling SEK14m (£1.13m) by the Swedish gambling industry regulator, Spelinspektionen.
Betway was issued with an official warning and was fined SEK5m (£0.41m) while Mandalorian Technologies was also issued with a warning but was fined a larger SEK9m (£0.73m).
The fines have been issued for violations of Swedish gambling law. Specifically, the operators were found to have offered bonuses to Swedish customers. In Sweden, operators may only offer bonuses to consumers upon their initial registration for a site.
Spelinspektionen defines bonuses as a “discount or similar financial incentive that is directly linked to the game”. Swedish law states that Swedish licence holders who violate the rules face fines or could even have their licence revoked.
The regulator warned that it was investigating the sector for its bonuses practices and also sent a letter to all Swedish licence holders on 19 February advising them of this. A statement from Spelinspektionen read:
As the Spelinspektionen already had indications at the beginning of the year that some gaming companies did not comply with the legislation, on February 19, the authorities issued a letter to all licensees regarding bonus offers. After the letter, the Gaming Inspectorate noted some compliance from the licensees, but the assessment is that further measures must also be taken to achieve full compliance.– Statement, Spelinspektionen
In March, the regulator found that Betway had offered repeated bonuses, such as weekly free plays or spins on casino games. For its part, Betway felt it was complying, however the operator did discontinue these offers. Betway is conducting its own investigation into the fine.
Mandalorian Technologies was fined due to cashback offers it was giving players up until February. Mandalorian also disputed the regulator’s perception, saying the offers “did not constitute an economic incentive to gamble”. The operator also sought legal expertise, which agreed with their stance after extensive analysis. Mandalorian explained its view to the regulator but also discontinued to offer.
The newly regulated Swedish market launched at the beginning of this year, and the regulator explained its stance towards bonuses in relation to this:
The main purpose of the new gambling regulation, which came into force on January 1, 2019, is to strengthen consumer protection and reduce the negative effects of gambling. The limitation on bonuses is contained in the law to reduce social and economic damage and problem playing. The Gaming Inspectorate will therefore continue to focus on supervision of this area.– Statement, Spelinspektionen