Sweden’s gambling regulator has fined two of its online licensees for allowing self-excluded gamblers to access online gambling products.
On Friday, the Spelinspektionen regulatory body announced that it had imposed a SEK4m (US$430k) penalty on Genesis Global Ltd, which operates nine Swedish-licensed online gambling brands, for allowing play from customers whose names appear on the Spelpaus self-exclusion register.
The failures date back to the first few days of Sweden’s new regulated online gambling market in early January. Genesis Global said at the time that the problem stemmed from “a failure in a third-party’s system integrating to Spelpaus” and that it had taken adequate steps to fix the integration problem.
Spelinspektionen also imposed a SEK100k fine on Paf, the online gambling operator in Finland’s autonomous Swedish-speaking Åland Islands region, for similar self-exclusion failures. Spelinspektionen director-general Camilla Rosenberg told Dagens Media that the disparity in the two fines issued Friday reflected the two companies’ respective gambling turnover, how long the infractions persisted and how each company responded to the issue.
Rosenberg called the infractions “very serious” given that much of the justification behind Sweden liberalizing its online gambling market was to offer better consumer protection measures. Spelinspektionen recently announced that around 28k individuals had registered with Spelpaus, 77% of whom were male and the majority under 30 years old.
Rosenberg said more fines were imminent as other companies have been guilty of the same infractions. Rosenberg added that, in future, licensees will need to ensure their systems are properly integrated with Spelpaus prior to their accepting their first wagers from local gamblers.
Spelinspektionen has been sounding similar alarms regarding its new licensees’ advertising efforts, which have accelerated dramatically under the new regulatory scheme. Last week, Spelinspektionen announced that it had teamed with the Swedish Consumer Agency (SCA) to ensure licensees’ marketing efforts fell within the admittedly vague ‘moderate’ requirement spelled out in the new regulations.
The SCA is reportedly investigating 19 Swedish licensees for various breaches of the ‘moderate’ advertising rules, including Videoslots, which recently received a strongly worded letter regarding the company’s marketing material appearing on three websites “specifically aimed at younger people or teenagers.”
Videoslots told Dagens Media that it “never intentionally targeted” minors with its marketing and that “all ads in Sweden contain the 18+ symbol and any contradictory claims are incorrect.” The company said it was discussing the matter with its third-party ad placement agency to determine how its ads appeared on the youth-oriented sites.