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Swedish Court rejects amusement park’s appeal against underage gambling fine

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Administrative Court in Linköping, Sweden has rejected amusement park Liseberg's appeal after it was hit with a SEK20,000 (£1,762/€1,932/$2,282) underage gambling fine by the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate (Spelinspektionen).

The Court has affirmed the decision by Spelinspektionen, which fined the amusement park after an investigation revealed that it allowed minors to play with claw machines.

In Sweden, claw machines are categorised as a form of slot machine that gives goods as prizes instead of money. They must not be used by anyone under 18 years old.

Liseberg appealed against the fine after it was handed down in September 2020, arguing that it was unfamiliar with the country’s rules around claw machines.

“In light of the purpose of the legislation, the Administrative Court makes the same assessment as the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate, that it was a matter of a serious violation.” said Spelinspektionen in a statement.

Following a tip-off, Spelinspektionen conducted surveillance on Liseberg and found that minors were using the claw machines in the company of adults, with no signs to inform the public of the age restrictions on the machines.

Liseberg explained that when it renewed its gaming license in April 2019, it believed that the age restrictions no longer applied. The age requirement signs were then removed, but were restored once Liseberg received notice of their necessity.

Although Spelinspektionen noted that Liseberg’s conduct was a serious breach of the Gaming Act, the regulator saw little chance of the amusement park reoffending and decided not to suspend its licence. It was decided that the fine should amount to SEK20,000 as claw machines are viewed as a low-risk form of gambling.

The fine, which could have seen the amusement park hand over 10% of its licensed gaming turnover, was combined with a warning.

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