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23 Apr

As the demand for casino services continues to soar, regulatory compliance has become more necessary than ever in a bid for the government to keep the gambling industry in check. In a rather ironic twist, a state-owned casino operator was recently found guilty of duty of care failures by Sweden’s gambling regulatory commission. Yes, you read that right. Sweden’s state-owned gambling operator, Svenska Spel has had its digital arm, Svensk spel Casino fined SEK100M/$9.5m for what the gaming authority termed as multiple shortcomings in player duty of care according to the Swedish Casino site svenskakasinon.nu

The case relates to the duty of care outlined in Sweden’s Gambling Act of 2019. Spelinspektionen, the country’s gaming authority, made this decision after conducting an investigation between October and December 2021.

Spelinspektionen Leaving no Stone Unturned

In its report, Spelinspektionen highlights, among other things, how 10 customers notably lost huge sums of money during the three months of investigation. The investigation found that all the reviewed customers exhibited signs of excessive gambling, such as high deposit limits, large sums of deposits, massive losses, and a high number of deposits in a single day.

Additionally, a number of customers played long into the night, while others played consistently throughout the week. Some customers had previously self-excluded from gambling, while others had long login sessions and even changed their gambling behavior to increase it.
The regulator believes Svenska Spel should have taken enough measures to protect these players from gambling addiction and encourage responsible gambling behavior.

In response, the online casino operator announced that they would take the regulator’s decision to heart and have already made plans to address issues raised in the report.

The operator further decried the lack of clarity in Spelinspektionen’s approach and made it known that it wasn’t in agreement with the regulator’s report. To address the concerns raised by the authority, Svenska Spel highlighted the following approaches it is taking:

  • Conducting checks on the incomes of high rollers.
  • Making welfare calls is a constant and consistent part of its daily operations.

By doing this, the operator believes it will be able to develop responsible gambling frameworks and live up to its own ambitions.

Cracking the Whip on Unlicensed Operators

Sweden enacted a new gaming law, which came into effect on 1st January 2019. One of the main highlights of the new regulation was to do with casino operating licenses. According to this new regulation, all online casinos must obtain a Swedish gaming license before operating in the country.

Although several operators have obtained the license, the regulator is continually updating the list of licensed operators. The list of licensed casino operators can be found on Casinonmedlicens.se.

In implementing this law, Spelinspektionen reiterates its commitment to openly communicating its actions. Additionally, the regulator has made it clear that operators found in contravention of this law will be fined or banned. Banned operators will be published on the authority’s official website for all to see.

To demonstrate its intent, Sweden’s gambling operator has already taken action against three other operators. Newera Frozen PTE Ltd and Aprodi were found to be offering video game skin gambling without first obtaining the necessary license. The third, Galaktika NV, was banned for providing gambling services to Swedish customers without having a license to operate in Sweden.

Other Regulatory Action Taken by Spelinspektionen

The Spelinspektionen continues to streamline the gambling industry in the country by not only banning unlicensed operators but also fining those who are licensed but still breaching the law. And so, Svenska Spel is not the first but the second casino operator to face the regulator’s wrath. The first was Yggdrasil, a slots studio fined a SEK300,000 penalty fee and a warning for supplying casino games to an unlicensed operator in Sweden.

As per the investigation conducted on 16th January 2024, Yggdrasil was found to be in contravention of section 6 of chapter 11 of Sweden’s Gambling Act. According to the Act, licensed casino games software providers are not under any circumstances allowed to provide software to any operator that is not licensed.

Yggdrasil corrected this infringement and issued a statement to that effect, further stating that the breach of contract between a retailer and Yggdrasil resulted in the contravention.

Although the authority confirmed that Yggdrasil eventually complied with its order, it reiterates that the same is expected of all operators and gaming software providers.

Svenska Spel may have set the record for the highest fine for a casino operator in Sweden, but it isn’t the only one facing the full force of the Spelinspektionen. The Swedish Gaming Authority is taking stringent measures to streamline the country’s gambling industry by rooting out unlicensed and rogue casino operators.

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