Sweden has endured a whirlwind few months since the turn of the year, with a scramble to ensure licensing status was secured for market relaunch spreading across a number of organisations.
For it’s regulator the Spelinspektionen, renamed by the country’s government to ensure a new brand communicated its modern authority status during the adoption of a number of new roles and assignments across many areas, it resulted in 80 such company’s receiving the go-ahead thus far, excluding association bingo.
CasinoBeats caught up with Anders Sims, head of communications for the regulator, who assessed the going thus far in the country’s market: “First of all we are happy for the interest end eagerness the operators has shown. All bigger operators applied for a license, which they also received before the launch of the re-regulated market.
“In that sense the re-regulation is a huge success since the channelisation is high. The international operators were already active in the market before the re-regulation, and now they are under our supervision, which is good for the customer’s safety. Today 80 companies hold licenses for betting and/or casino online.”
“We receive a lot of complaints from the Swedish customers … these contacts are very important for our supervision”
However, Sims was keen to point out that not all will remain rosy, and on occasion the Spelinspektionen has to step in to ensure that each licensee is upholding the utmost compliance: “On the downside, not all operators are as eager to follow the legislation and act in a responsible way and in accordance to the purpose of the re-regulation,” he says.
“Three operators have been penalised thus far for not being integrated with the self-excluding system in a satisfying way, which means that customers who have blocked themselves from gambling have been able to play anyway. That is a serious breach of the regulation.”
Adding on the integral part that consumers play in this process: “We receive a lot of complaints from the Swedish customers regarding different operators who might not be following the regulation. These contacts are very important for our supervision in different areas.
“One problematic area is bonuses, which some operators offer although it only is allowed to give customer a bonus one time. We understand that some parts of the legislation are difficult to interpret, but in those cases the operators should make sure to be on the safe side, not on the borderline.”
As alluded to by Sims, a number of warnings, reminders and sanctions have been issued so far, but why was it necessary to do so and what penalties exactly could those that fall under the microscope be facing: “We can’t say in advance which breaches will lead to which penalties. We can give them sanctions or fines up to 10 per cent of their revenue and revoke their licence, all depending on how serious the breech is and how accommodating the operator is.
“Since many of the operators are international we need to have international co-operation on many levels”
“We will try different paths in order to make the operators comply with the law. If they are responsive enough a general reminder or warning can be enough, and in some cases stating examples with a high sanctions might be needed.”
Recent moves undertaken by the gambling authority has seen lines of communication opened with those operating in a similar manner across further jurisdictions.
Of this initial link-up, Anders gave a brief insight into why exactly it was deemed an important step and initial benefits to be felt: “Many of the companies that have received a Swedish licence also have technical equipment and a license in Malta. By opening the communication channels between the authorities, we become stronger in our supervisory activities.”
Adding that it’s dealings with the MGA, and now GGD, are simply the first of many: “We will sign similar agreements with other country’s authorities. Since many of the operators are international we need to have international co-operation on many levels, so our supervision becomes as effective as possible.”