Sweden’s gambling authority bans four operators

Garance Limouzy 1 month ago
Sweden’s gambling authority bans four operators

In its efforts to tackle illicit gambling practices, Sweden’s Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen, has recently imposed bans on four operators accused of targeting Swedish consumers through unauthorised “skin” gambling platforms. The affected entities, Gamevio Ltd, Bigskin Trading Limited, Santeda International BV, and the website Samilland.co, have been formally barred from catering to Swedish players due to violations of national gambling laws.

Skin gambling is a trend particularly popular among younger gamers. It involves using virtual items known as “skins” as currency for betting on gaming outcomes, with potential real-world monetary implications. This practice has raised regulatory concerns regarding its classification under gambling laws, exacerbated by the absence of robust age verification measures on these platforms.

According to Spelinspektionen, the risks associated with unregulated online gambling are high, particularly considering their accessibility to minors. The gambling regulator emphasises that sites facilitating “skin” gambling are ineligible for Swedish gaming licences due to critical oversight deficiencies.

A broader strategy

The crackdown is part of Spelinspektionen’s broader strategy to tighten oversight of Sweden’s gambling market. Empowered by expanded authority granted by the Riksdag (Parliament) since July 2023, Spelinspektionen can now take direct action against unlicensed gambling operations, including imposing immediate payment blocks on transactions involving Swedish financial services and unauthorised gambling entities. Spelinspektionen is also allowed to use a false identity to purchase gambling services. Undercover purchases are a way to monitor gaming companies active in the regulated market or in the black market.

To bolster enforcement efforts, Spelinspektionen has allocated additional resources to its surveillance teams. Furthermore, financial institutions licensed by Sweden’s Financial Authority are now required to document all transactions involving gambling operators. This facilitates oversight and enables more effective regulatory enforcement.

Further regulatory reforms are anticipated through proposed amendments to Sweden’s Gaming Act of 2018, aiming to ban all credit-related transactions in Swedish gambling activities by spring 2025. These legislative changes are intended to strengthen consumer protections and uphold the integrity of Sweden’s gambling industry amidst its rapid digital transformation.

Looking ahead, the gaming industry will shift its focus to Eastern Europe this September with the SiGMA East Europe Summit 2024 in Budapest.

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