The Swedish gaming regulator Spelinspektionen has launched a further crackdown on match-fixing after announcing that it would suspend betting markets on breaches of laws, such as expulsions, suspensions and yellow cards in football.
The new laws, which take effect from 1 January 2021, will apply to games played in Sweden. According to the regulator, the rules would mean that ‘there is no reason to influence the outcome of gambling in the affected areas on the Swedish licenced market in the affected areas’.
The regulator said: “Football is a high-risk sport when it comes to match-fixing and there are special risks with low divisions. Surveillance is poorer and practitioners do not make money from their sport.
“The Swedish Gambling Authority has therefore chosen to place special emphasis on football and has taken into account views received from the consultative bodies.”
In addition, the regulator will also ban markets in all but the top four football divisions in Sweden (Allsvenskan, Superettan, Division 1 Norra and Södra) and the six regional Division 2 leagues as well as internationals under the 21.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, general secretary of the Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) online gaming operators’ association, criticised the new legislation, saying that it was a political manoeuvre to meet the needs of the National Athletics Association, the Swedish Football Association and politicians.
He said: “Spelinspektionen claims to have found a well-balanced point between different interests but there is no balanced point in this matter. Either you believe restrictions for licensed companies lead to reduced match-fixing [or not].
“In that case, I wonder why Spelinspektionen can be content with these relatively peripheral restrictions. In that case, the only responsibility would be to impose restrictions on almost everything if one is so convinced that they have a positive effect.
“The Swedish Gambling Authority is often blamed for a lot of things when in fact it is the government that is to be held accountable.
“This case is unique however in that it is the SGA itself that has chosen to impose the restrictions and this without any analysis of their effect. This, of course, damages SGA’s reputation.”
Speaking at last week’s SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital, Hoffstedt hit back on the temporary regulatory steps implemented by the Swedish government during the pandemic, arguing that such initiatives are prejudicial to channelling speeds.
He pointed out that in the decision to impose deposit limits, politics played a part, pointing out that verticals held – or affiliated with – by the government faced nothing in the way of deposit limits.