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For taking bets on an under-18s football match, Spelinspektionen has fined ‘Hillside Sports,’ a listed company with Bet365 Sweden, SEK 1 million (€95,00).
The penalty was given in connection with a training match between Kronängs IF and Mariedals IK in the Sodra Västergötlands Fotbollförbund (Swedish southern district League) on March 28, 2020.
According to Spelinspektionen, 17 members of the Kronängs team and seven members of the Mariedals team were under the age of 18 at the time of the match.
Chapter 8 of Sweden’s new Gaming Act
The operator was forbidden from selling markets on the game under Chapter 8 of Sweden’s new Gaming Act.
Hillside claimed in its letter to the regulator that Chapter 8 prohibitions applied to football matches categorised as under-18 events, which Kronängs IF vs Mariedals IK had not distinguished.
The company reported: “Hillside has not offered betting in bad faith for its own sake winnings in violation of the gaming law.
“Hillside lacked further information about and could or have they obtained information on the number of minor participants then such data are not generally available.”
Previous rule breaking
The incident is not the first time that bet365 has fallen foul of Swedish betting’s Chapter 8 rules. Back in June 2019, bet365 was among a raft of licensed bookmakers penalised by Spelinspektionen for offering betting markets on under-18 football matches.
Following an unsuccessful appeal, bet365 was issued the maximum penalty of SEK 10 million (€1 million) for breaching Chapter 8 rules.
Following a series of sanctions issued in 2019, BOS Sweden – the country’s online gambling trade association – demanded that Spelinspektionen clarified its under-18 wagering rules, as licensed operators were ‘unwittingly falling foul of unclear Chapter 8 rules and guidance’.
Spelinspektionen reaffirmed that Chapter 8 rules had been implemented to strengthen Sweden’s Gaming Act with the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of sports integrity.
Inspectorate’s legal interpretation
bet365 stated that as of May 2019, it has stopped taking bets on all Swedish matches classified as U20, U21, U22 and U23 matches in accordance with the ‘inspectorate’s legal interpretation’.
Hillside stated that bet365 will continue to work with the Svenska Football Association (SFA) to provide guidance and recommendation on its Swedish football markets offering.