Konsumentverket urges improvement after reviewing contract terms

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The Swedish Consumer Agency, Konsumentverket, has reminded licensed gaming companies of the importance of ‘providing balanced and fair conditions to the consumer,’ following a review of licence terms.

The group reviewed the contract terms of 13 licensed gaming companies, selected randomly on the basis that they hold a license for online gaming and betting, and says that it found a number of shortcomings.

“There is significant room for improvement in the audited gaming companies,” it was reported, with deficiencies identified with regard to, among other things, withdrawal restrictions and changes in the terms of the agreement.

The companies involved in the review were AG Communications, Bayton, Blue Star Planet, ComeOn Sweden, Ellmount Gaming, Genesis Global, Interwetten, MOA Gaming Sweden, Pixel Digital, Smarkets, Svenska Spel, Videoslots and Zecure Gaming. Odin Services was initially selected, however, removal occurred after licence withdrawal on June 16, 2020.

In the review, the Swedish Consumer Agency drew attention to the fact that eleven out of thirteen gaming companies examined applied contract terms, which means that the consumer must provide documentation to verify and prove their identity.  

It was further noted that four of the thirteen applied contract terms meaning that foreign law shall apply when applying those terms, with three of these four stating that a foreign court shall have jurisdiction to decide disputes, with one failing to state a competent court.  

The consumer agency says that it ‘believes that an imbalance in the parties’ performance is created as the condition may give the impression that only foreign law is applicable and that the consumer thus has no protection under Swedish law. Such a condition is considered unreasonable’.

Furthermore, it was found that six out of thirteen gaming companies audited applied contract terms that limited the consumer’s right to withdraw money from a gaming account.

In its closing comments, the Konsumentverket explained: “Following a review, the Konsumentverket is of the opinion that there is significant room for improvement among the audited gaming companies. 

“During the review, the Konsumentverket was able to note that there are contractual terms that can generally be considered unclear and in some cases not exhaustive. Terms that are compatible with applicable law and that are designed in a clear and unambiguous way lead to a balance in the parties’ performance which means that the consumer is less likely to be hit by unfair terms. The Konsumentverket therefore wants to emphasise the importance of the companies providing balanced and fair conditions to the consumer.”

Adding that the findings will be sent to all applicable organisations, and issuing a reminder that a follow-up will be taking place: “This memorandum will be sent to all audited gaming companies, to the remaining licensees and to the gaming industry’s national organisation and the industry association for online gaming.

“In conclusion, the Swedish Consumer Agency would like to draw the attention of the gaming industry to the fact that the Swedish Consumer Agency intends to follow up the current review to see how the gaming companies have taken into account the assessments made in the current memorandum. Such a follow-up may take place in the form of individual supervisory matters.”