Sweden’s online gambling trade association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel has called for an explanation from the Swedish Financial Authority on why banks have ‘withdrawn their financial services’ for licensed operators.
In the official address,, the company outlined how the industry is dependent on basic financial infrastructure ‘in the form of banking and payment services’ in order to effectively conduct their business.
This includes addressing challenges related to the activities of unlicensed betting operators, as well as protecting customers from fraudulent threats and countering attempts at money laundering, an essential practice for preventing the exploitation of Sweden’s gaming industry for criminal purposes or for terrorist financing.
Additionally, BOS’ complaint states that during 2021, the majority of its members have unexpectedly had to deal with account closures and the termination of agreed payment services provided by national banks.
The BOS statement read: “As far as BOS is aware the following banks have in some cases actively resigned or refused to offer services to the member companies: SEB, Swedbank, Nordea, Handelsbanken, DNB Nor and Danske Bank.”
The trade association has called on Finansinspektionen to explain their reasoning why licensed businesses were denied basic banking and payment services needed to conduct their day-to-day business.
“The banks fulfil an important task in any society and for every industry,” said Gustaf Hoffstedt, general secretary of BOS. “The online gambling industry is not an exception, quite the opposite with our industry’s transaction intensity.”
“With this in mind it concerns me that a large number of banks are withdrawing their services to Swedish licensed gambling operators, and apparently without any individual due diligence process.
“The decision seems to have been taken based only on the industry’s general reputation rather than any AML concern or similar from the bank regarding the individual client.”
Regarding the decision by the banks to withdraw their services to Sweden’s licensed gambling operators, Hoffstedt – writing in the letter – added that ‘the formal reason for the redundancies seems to be the outcome of the banks’ risk assessment and application of PTL, but in some cases the banks have not stated any reason at all’.
He concluded: “The Nordic banks own the Bank-ID identification system and even more importantly the payment provider Swish. It is of great importance for operators in Sweden to be able to offer these systems to the customers.
“Bank-ID and Swish are important competitive advantages for Swedish licensed operators in their daily combat against unlicensed operators. We need the banks to be on the right side of that combat, and that is the reason we today ask the Swedish Finance Inspection for aid on this matter.”
The submission of a formal complaint on banking follows BOS’ expression of concern regarding the influence over regulatory affairs held by Sweden’s state-owned lottery and gambling company Svenska Spel.