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Sweden to Crack Down on Gambling Advertising

- March 20, 2019 By Oliver Young -

According to new policy updates, Spelinspektionen will be able to fine operators retroactively if they have breached advertising regulations.

After sending warnings to online casino operators two months ago, Sweden’s gambling regulatory agency Spelinspektionen is now taking steps to further restrict gambling advertising in the country. Stressing the importance of complying with regulatory rules, the gambling watchdog has informed its licensees that it may start applying retroactive penalties but also that it has linked up with a new government agency in order to protect its citizens.

Moderate Advertising is a Must

According to an official statement from the regulator, Spelinspektionen will be joining forces with the country’s consumer agency, Konsumentverket, with the purpose of monitoring advertising breaches and applying sanctions. The plan is to split the responsibilities between both government agencies in order to regulate the gambling sector more effectively.

Warnings have also been issued that those operators who are discovered to have breached regulations could be sent an official notice, a financial fine or, in cases of extreme breaches, could have their licenses revoked. The regulatory agency is particularly concerned about the requirement for “moderation” in advertising and has warned licensees that any violations of this requirement will be considered a serious offence.

No specific information has been given on how much advertising is considered to be moderate or excessive, but Spelinspektionen explains that all operators could simply contact the Konsumentverket to make sure that their advertising is at a desirable rate. For this purpose, Konsumentverket is being given the jurisdiction to monitor moderate advertising, including marketing to people who have self-excluded, but also overseeing collection of player data and lottery marketing.

At the same time, the Spelinspektionen will take on the role of monitoring sponsorships, online casino bonuses, and product-based advertising across Sweden. According to Andreas Prochazka, head of unit at the gambling watchdog, no matter whether players turn to the regulatory agency or the consumer agency they can now rest assured that their cases will “end up right”.

Keeping Up With Initial Promises

The latest warnings from Sweden’s regulatory body are in line with the initial promises expressed by Spelinspektionen back in 2018 when the country was preparing for a new online gambling legislation. The legislation was initially drafted in a way as to allow the country retrieve control of its gambling market after research found that internationally-licensed online casinos were serving about a quarter of players in the country.

Other than obliging operators to pay an 18% tax on their GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) and placing their servers in Sweden, the new gambling legislation also focused on increased player protection. The minimum age for online gambling was set at 18 while land-based casinos were prohibited from accepting players under the age of 20. Blockades on unauthorized domains and money transfers on blacklisted operators were also enforced to create a safer and more tightly-regulated industry, while new fines were outlined that could end up costing incompliant casinos up to 10% of their yearly turnover. Together with the latest policy update on advertising, the regulatory agency is now hoping to make licenses adhere to an even higher standard of player protection.

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