The recent decision by the Supreme Administrative Court has the potential to allow gaming operators to recover penalty fees paid to Sweden’s regulator. Although the court upheld Spelinspektionen’s penalization of an online casino operator, it ordered a recalculation of the penalties.
Genesis Global was initially fined SEK 4m (€360,000) by Spelinspektionen for failing to integrate its brands with the Spelpaus self-exclusion system. After multiple appeals, the fine was reduced to SEK 1m, but Spelinspektionen appealed the decision, leading the matter to the Supreme Administrative Court.
The court upheld Spelinspektionen’s decision to penalize Genesis Global but found that the penalty amount needed revision due to “ambiguities around the concept of turnover” and how the penalty was applied. As a result, Spelinspektionen has been ordered to review its penalty calculation methods.
The court’s ruling could serve as a precedent for the revision of penalties issued by Spelinspektionen since the liberalization of Sweden’s online gambling market in 2019. The potential impact of the decision is currently being analyzed by the court.
Penalties of an excessively high amount
The Swedish Online Gambling Trade Association (BOS) has contended that gross gaming revenue (GGR), which is usually less than 10 per cent of gross turnover, should be the basis for fees instead of gross turnover.
BOS expressed the hope that Spelinspektionen would not raise the fines to justify previous penalties following the Supreme Administrative Court’s decision. BOS Director General Gustaf Hoffstedt welcomed the court’s decision, but expressed regret that it was late in coming.
He urged Spelinspektionen not to raise the penalty fee based on GGR tenfold to match the previous fee based on gross turnover. Genesis Global, which ran 14 Gambling Commission-licensed sites, withdrew from the UK online gambling market in December.
“We look forward to the SGA’s review of sanction decisions made since the Swedish reregulation. We appeal to the inspectorate not to increase the penalty fee based on GGR tenfold, just to get to the same level as the previous fee based on gross turnover. Swedish penalty fees have been grotesquely high and now the Supreme Administrative Court is giving Sweden a second chance to settle on a more reasonable level for penalty fees.”