Swedish Gambling Authority Proposes Sports Betting Changes

The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has unveiled plans to limit football betting in the country to the top four divisions to reduce the risk of match-fixing. Under the proposals, sports betting will be restricted to teams that play in the Allsvenskan, Suprettan and Swedish division one and two.

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SGA Proposes Football Betting Restrictions © Pixabay.

Domestic cup games in Sweden would also be affected by markets only being offered for teams in the top divisions. All betting on training and non-competitive fixtures such as friendlies will also be prohibited as will wagering on under-21 national team games.

Surprisingly, even games featuring the national team, who are ranked 17th in the world in FIFA’s world rankings, will be subject to betting restrictions. Sweden finished second to Spain in their group that consisted of Spain, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands and Malta—securing qualification for their sixth consecutive European championship.

The SGA is calling for restrictions on international games stating that sports betting should be limited to “international matches at club level where the team is part of one of the four highest divisions in each country”.

The regulator also plans to limit the number of markets offered severely with popular in-play topics such as yellow cards, red cards, penalty scored and penalty missed betting becoming banned under the SGA’s plan.

Bettors will also be unable to bet on any player during a game, competition or tournament who is under the age of 18. However, the state-owned Svenska Spel, who before deregulation in the country was the only licenced online gambling company, has stated that the proposals by the SGA don’t go far enough.

Dan Korhonen, product manager for sports betting and game safety at Svenska Spel, argued that the proposed rules do not go far enough to protect sporting competition in the country, prevent gambling fraud or strengthen consumer protection. He said;

Only allowing bets on matches featuring clubs from the top four divisions may work well for domestic matches in Sweden, but could still lead to betting on more at-risk matches in some other countries, where the fourth tier of football may be a much lower level Dan Korhonen, Svenska Spel

Korhonen was critical of the SGA for not including other markets in the proposals, adding that betting on the number of throw-ins and corners within a game as a concern. Adding that these markets had been targeted in the past by match-fixers, so he said it was “strange” for these markets not to be included.

Korhonen did state that he felt the proposals went too far in some areas, citing the ban on friendlies. He argued that international friendlies were a significant part of the football calendar and should be allowed.

The Swedish regulator has published its proposals on the changes. They state they have included operators, industry stakeholders and sporting associations, including the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) in the consultation.

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