A court in Sweden has taken action against a gambling company found to have breached gaming law, earning praise from the Swedish consumer ombudsman Konsumentverket.
The Patent and Market Court has imposed a fine of €1.47 million on AG Communications, for violations of the national Gaming Act by its subsidiary, Karamba.
The firm, which holds a licence from the national gaming regulator Spelinspektionen for online games, was discovered to have advertising that was in contravention of the gaming law’s rules on moderation. In addition, the court also said that the operator must offer more clarity on the issue of restrictions related to free spins and bonuses.
In the judgement, the court found that the bonus offer from AG Communications increased the risk of a customer ending up in problem gambling and that the operator’s marketing efforts failed to meet the standard of the law, specifically its requirement for moderation.
According to evidence seen by the court and provided by Konsumentverket, the Karamba advertisement in question promised a bonus of €196, but to take part in the offer, a customer has to play for over €6870. The court found that it was difficult for customers to understand the limitations of the offer in the advertising and ruled that the rules had to be made clearer.
The full ruling covered a series of separate prohibitions and demands related to the provision of clearer information on the site. Each of the five points had a €294,000 fine attached, resulting in a total penalty for the company of €1.47 million.
In addition, the court found that the company had tried to persuade customers to carry on and register for games even after they had chosen to cancel, through a message that encouraged customers to stay on the site and start playing. The company argued that this was meant in a joking fashion, but the court did not agree.
Konsumentverket welcomed the decision. Speaking for the ombudsman, Process Advisor Par Magnusson said that the ruling offered clarity in this area of gaming:
“It is good that the court clearly states that it is not allowed to mislead someone into believing that you get a big bonus, when in fact it is about having to play for very large amounts for a short time to have a chance to get the bonus or be able to withdraw some winnings.“