Casinos for youPlayers in Sweden may only receive one bonus offer when signing up at an online casino. This and other regulatory protocols have placed many operators in the hot seat as Spelinspektionen, and Swedish courts hold them to the letter of the law.
Sweden’s gambling regulator received a vote of confidence from the country’s justice system. The gambling giant, Betway, appealed against Spelinspektionen’s penalty of SEK 100,000 (€9,800) but lost the case.
The operator challenged the already-reduced penalty fee as well as the findings, and the Swedish Administrative Court in Linköping rejected the appeal.
The Swedish gambling inspectorate imposed a fine in 2021 as Betway violated the country’s laws on bonus offers. Sweden’s Gambling Act of 2019 permits one bonus offer per player at the sign-up process. Although Betway insists it was an accident, the operator infringed on this law and now owes Spelinspektionen the stipulated penalty.
An Accidental Breach
In June 2021, Betway informed Spelinspektionen of a system failure that led to a breach of contract. The marketing incident included a campaign offered to all customers instead of being limited to the minor brand they intended it for. Betway reported that 52 existing customers claimed the 200% match bonus in a 3-hour time frame.
Subsequently, the Swedish regulator extended a warning and issued a penalty of SEK 100,000 to the operator. Betway lodged an appeal because they rectified the mistake swiftly and challenged the penalty, arguing that the 200% match offer did not equal a bonus.
The operator took immediate action by disabling the bonus feature in their back-office program and contacted the customers who claimed the offers. Betway confirmed that none of the players suffered financial losses because of the incident.
Spelinspektionen Justified by Court
Swedish gambling laws stipulate a penalty fee worth 10% of registered sales for operators who infringe on the bonus ban. Spelinspektionen did not decide on a maximum penalty for Betway and acknowledged the operator’s swift action in the matter. The regulator considered the incident less serious and opted for a lower fine, but Betway disagreed.
On 10 May, Spelinspektionen published the court’s ruling and confirmed that the court upheld the regulator’s findings. The court found that Spelinspektionen was justified in their penalty award as well. The regulator’s website states:
“The court concluded that the company had violated the bonus ban and that the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate had reason to decide on the reprimand and penalty fee.”
Betway’s appeal was rejected in its entirety. The company confirmed that they took further steps to avoid similar incidents in the future, and all relevant staff received additional training.
This is not the first appeal Betway has lost against the Swedish regulator. Shortly after the Swedish government enforced new gambling regulations in 2019, Spelinspektionen penalised the operator for violating new laws pertaining to bonus offers.
Betway appealed the penalty and requested the court reduce or dismiss the penalty but lost and was liable to pay the SEK 4.7 million fine.
Swedish courts have heard several appeals against the gambling regulator and mostly find their penalties to be lawful and reasonable.
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