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Betsson subsidiary sees Swedish fine reduced on appeal

| By Richard Mulligan
NGG Nordic, an operational subsidiary in the Betsson Group, has seen a fine imposed by Sweden’s gambling authority substantially reduced on appeal.
Svenska Spel 2023

The Administrative Court in Linköping, hearing an appeal over a Spelinspektionen ruling issued last June over bonus rules violations, decreased an initial fine of SEK19m (€1.9m/$2.3m) to SEK14m. The same court rejected an appeal by PlayOjo operator Skill On Net on the SEK14m fine it was also handed last June regarding illicit bonuses and illicit lotteries.

Spelinspektionen said the Administrative Court mainly shared its interpretation of current provisions in the Gaming Act, but made a partly different assessment regarding the definition of bonus and the requirement for the direct connection of the bonus to the game.

The Administrative Court also estimated NGG Nordic’s turnover at a different amount than the regulator.

“When assessing the size of the penalty fee, the administrative court states that an overall assessment must be made based on all relevant circumstances,” Spelinspektionen said in a statement. “The court considers that the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate had reason to decide on a warning and a penalty fee.”

Last June, Spelinspektionen found that NGG Nordic and Skill On Net had breached regulations by offering players bonuses on multiple occasions. The regulations that came into force from January 2019 restrict operators to offering one bonus per player upon sign-up.

The review of NGG Nordic’s NordicBet site by the Spelinspektionen discovered bonus offers in a range of different forms, including weekly surprises, cash prize draws, free spins, and free games. It also found that NGG Nordic had been organising lottery games, something which is not covered by its igaming and online wagering licence.

As well as both being fined more than €1m, both groups were also issued a warning by the regulator.

Reacting to the penalty at the time, Betsson said it believed its offering was compliant with Swedish legislation, though had made changes immediately following Spelinspektionen’s intervention and subsequent clarification of rules.

It described the regulation on bonuses as “vague”, and easily interpreted in a range of different ways.

Last week, the Linköping court dismissed an appeal by United Lottery Solutions, a subsidiary of lottery betting giant Lottoland, against a warning and a fine issued by Spelinpektionen last year.

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