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Swedish court rejects XC Gaming appeal against SEK5m bonus penalty

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Sweden's administrative court has rejected an appeal from Frankfred and Klirr operator XC Gaming, after the business was ordered to pay a SEK5m penalty last year for bonus failings.
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XC was the subject of Spelinspektionen sanctions last year, as the regulator found the business gave a number of bonuses totalling SEK21,000 (£1,774/€2,058/$2,400) to a player after signing up.

Under Sweden’s current gambling regime, which came into force in 2019, operators may only offer players one bonus, upon their initial sign-up.

The failings in question came under XC’s previous ownership, with the regulator specifically noting that new owner The Mill Adventure had taken steps to ensure a higher duty of care.

The case began due to the fact that XC was initially granted only a two-year licence when the market opened. Spelinspektionen said it may prove “difficult” for it to meet certain requirements, due to questions about its size and capacity to undertake certain routines at the time.

Because of this, the regulator opted to ask certain extra questions of the operator. One of these questions concerned measures taken regarding XC’s highest-depositing customer.

This information revealed that the customer had received at least six deposits from the operator, ranging between SEK1,500 and SEK7,500. In addition, messages from XC alluded to a “gift” to the player, while the player alluded to receiving a bottle of champagne.

“In total, the player has thus received the least SEK 21,000 and a number of other gifts from the company during the period under review period,” the regulator said.

Spelinspektionen noted that, at the same time, the operator was noticing a pattern of “escalating play” in the customer, and sent responsible gambling interactions.

In March 2020, XC was acquired by The Mill Adventure, which Spelinspektionen noted had no influence in operations during the time period it examined.

“The Mill Adventure wants to guarantee that the company now fully complies with the Gaming Act and announces that special measures have been taken to ensure that the provisions on duty of care and gaming liability are complied with,” the regulator said.

The business appealed the penalty to the country’s administrative court (Förvaltningsrätten). However, the court ruled that as the failings involved were “very serious”, the penalty was “proportionate”.

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