Sweden’s gambling regulator has fired what it claims is its final warning shot across the bow of local media outlets that run adverts for unauthorized online gambling operators.
On Thursday, Sweden’s Lotteriinspektionen gaming regulatory body published a notice on its website warning the publisher of the free daily Metro newspaper to stop running ads for internationally licensed online gambling sites or face the consequences.
Lotteriinspektionen accused Metro, which is read by over 1.1m Swedes, of running ads promoting numerous internationally licensed sites, including Multilotto.com, The Lotter, Ninja Casino and Jackpotjoy. Lotteriinspektionen maintains that these ads are in violation of the Lottery Act, which prohibits the promotion of any lottery organized outside the country.
Lotteriinspektionen further claims that Metro has been repeatedly warned to cease and desist such naughtiness yet the publishers apparently couldn’t care less. Lotteriinspektionen is now warning that future violations of this sort will result in a financial penalty of SEK 250k (US $29,600).
Lotteriinspektionen and the state-owned gambling monopoly Svenska Spel have long railed against international gambling sites, what with their wider product offering and more competitive pricing. But the nanny-staters have also waged a long and bitter war with local media outlets who enjoy cashing those big online gambling advertising checks.
However, last month saw Sweden’s Supreme Administrative Court uphold the Lottery Act’s restrictive advertising rules, and Lotteriinspektionen director-general Camilla Rosenberg was quick to put local media outlets on notice that she expected full compliance from this point forward, meaning the Metro action is likely only the first shot of many to come.
Sweden has long denied international operators the right to offer services to local punters, although the country is limping towards liberalization of its online market (and the likely privatization of Svenska Spel). However, actual changes in the current market makeup aren’t expected until 2019.