It is only legal to place bets in Sweden, and Flutter-owned company Betfair has received a warning and a fine of €350,800 from the Swedish gambling regulator for offering bets on football matches featuring players under the age of 21.
Betfair has been fined SEK4m (€350,804) by Sweden’s national gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, for offering prohibited football bets.
Specifically, the regulator found that Betfair had allowed bets to be placed on matches from the U21 Allsvenskan, which is not one of the four highest football leagues in Sweden where betting is permitted to prevent match-fixing. Spelinspektionen found that 224 customers bet SEK1.1m on 139 of the 148 U21 Allsvenskan matches offered by Betfair in 2021 and 2022.
Betfair admitted that the presence of this market on its exchange platform was a breach of Swedish law, despite being a platform where customers bet against each other and not the operator. Betfair claimed that its manual process of blocking access to prohibited betting markets had failed in these cases.
Betfair has announced that it no longer allows betting on the U21 Allsvenskan and has implemented measures to block all betting on lower leagues in Sweden.
As a result, players can only place bets on the top two leagues. While Spelinspektionen acknowledged the steps taken by Betfair, the regulatory body still deemed the violation a serious breach of Sweden’s gambling laws, resulting in the issuance of a formal warning and a fine.
Spelinspektionen stated that betting on the U21 Allsvenskan is prohibited to protect young players from undue influence and that the violation was recurring throughout 2021 and 2022. The fine of SEK4m was determined based on Swedish regulations that set penalties for serious offences at a minimum of SEK5,000 and a maximum of 10% of operator turnover.
Although Betfair’s turnover was over SEK4.35bn in 2021, Spelinspektionen also took into account the operator’s gross gaming revenue of SEK32.7m.
Swedish gambling companies support the notion of increasing fees to finance the country’s regulatory body.
In recent weeks, gambling operators have voiced their approval of proposals to raise certain fees they pay to Spelinspektionen, as the regulator lacks sufficient funds to carry out its regulatory responsibilities.
Despite the Swedish government’s recent announcement of additional funding of SEK2.4m (€210,000) for Spelinspektionen this year, the online gaming industry association BOS has concurred with the regulator’s view that further funding is necessary, and that fees ought to cover the expenses of licensing and supervision.