News Swedish Court Rules on Underage Betting Penalties

Swedish Court Rules on Underage Betting Penalties

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A court in Sweden has upheld a string of penalties issued by the national regulator Spelinspektionen to betting companies deemed to have offered underage betting.

The Administrative Court issued opinions on eleven cases, overturning one decision by the regulator, upholding three penalties in full and lowering the penalties in seven cases.

The overturned decision related to betting operator Bethard, which was originally fined SEK 2.5 million (£200,000) for offering betting markets sports events that featured a majority of players who were underaged. Their fine was one of eight handed out by Spelinspektionen last July. The regulator has been ordered to re-examine the case and if necessary, reduce the fine.

Among the companies to have their fines reduced were Polar Limited, which operates the Coolbet brand. They had pointed out that Spelinspektionen had applied inconsistent rules on identifying what proportion of a team’s players were underaged. In the case of Casinostugan, the court agreed that the betting market in question was offered in error. Snabbare Limited, Hajper and ComeOn also had their fines reduced as the court deemed they were disproportionate to the size of their turnover.

But the court rejected appeals from betting giants Bet365, Betfair and the Stars Group. Bet365 had argued that the handling of the case involving its subsidiary Hillside Sports was not fair or transparent, because Spelinkspektionen had not conducted similar investigations into all licensed operators, but the court was not persuaded by this argument.

They also rejected appeals by Betfair and the Stars Group, who had claimed that they hadn’t breached the rules because although they offered markets on games in which a majority of players were under-18, the wider tournament featured a majority of over-18 players.

The court decisions mark the latest stage in the attempts by Spelinspektionen to improve the reputation of the sports betting sector, amid concerns about integrity and match fixing. Warnings were initially given to operators last April, with fines following in the summer.

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