Sweden’s Consumer Ombudsman Praise Court In AG Case

Consumer ombudsman Konsumentverket of Sweden praised the Patent and Market Court of Sweden, after AG Communications was hit with a total fine of SEK 15 m for violations of the Gaming Act concerning its Karamba entity.

The firm, which is licenced for online games by the Spelinspektionen, has been found to have advertising that contravenes the moderation requirements of the gaming law. The court also ruled that the company must become much clearer about the limitations on bonuses and so-called free spins that exist.

In its judgment, the KO found that the ‘AG Communications’ bonus offer significantly increases the risk that the consumer will end up in problem gambling;” and subsequently added that the marketing efforts of the group did not meet the moderation requirement.

“The purpose of the moderation provision in the Gambling Act is to counteract the public health problems associated with problem gambling,” was stated in the documentation of the verdict.

The Swedish consumer agency states that the ad promised a bonus of SEK 2,000, but an individual is forced to play for more than SEK 70,000 in order to participate. The court now demands that the restrictions for those accessing the site should be clearer.

The court found that “it is difficult for players to understand the limitations of the offer of bonuses and so-called free spins in the advertising of the gaming site”.

The court detailed five points of the judgement containing multiple prohibitions and requests for clearer details from the gaming company, each point being connected to a fine of SEK 3 m, resulting in a total of SEK 15 m.

It was added that when they decided to cancel,” the company also tried to persuade consumers to continue and register for games, when they chose to cancel.”  The company is said to have claimed that  the message, “wait, the chance to win big is waiting for you. Complete the registration and start playing!  was meant jokingly.

Pär Magnusson, process advisor at KO stated: “It is good that the court clearly states that it is not allowed to mislead someone into believing that you get a big bonus, when in fact it is about having to play for very large amounts for a short time to have a chance to get the bonus or be able to withdraw some winnings.”