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ATG hit with SEK2m penalty fee over self-exclusion failings

| By Richard Mulligan
Swedish horse racing and betting operator AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has been issued with a SEK2m (€187,500 / $187,400 / £159,500) penalty fee and reprimanded by the nation’s regulator over self-exclusion failures.

Spelinspektionen issued the penalty after being notified by the operator itself that it had not adhered to gaming regulations relating to self-exclusion and access to the national Spelpaus system at the start of 2022.

In February, ATG told the regulator that the self-exclusion function was not accessible to users who logged in with a mobile bank ID when using ATG’s platforms between 13-28 January. The group said this was due to a technical problem that occurred in connection with an update of the login system.

ATG said it discovered the bug on 27 January and this was fixed within 24 hours.

ATG estimated that around 100 users may have had problems using the self-exclusion function during the two-week period.

Spelinspektionen found that ATG had violated the provisions of Sweden’s Gaming Ordinance, namely that the function for self-exclusion must be clearly visible and accessible from all pages on a gambling website.

The regulator said that it considered the two-week period during which the self-exclusion issues took place “is not insignificant”. However, it conceded that players were able to self-exclude again via customer service and that ATG promptly corrected the error when it came to their attention.

It chose to issue a reprimand against ATG rather than take tougher action against the group and its licence.

The penalty fee of SEK2m was derived from the group’s most recent annual GGR figure of SEK5.5bn. The penalty had to be more than SEK5,000, but could have been as much as SEK2.5bn.

Spelinspektionen said: “The Gambling Act sets requirements that gambling activities must be suitable from a general point of view and conducted in a healthy and safe manner under public control. This means, among other things, that the games must have strong consumer protection and that the negative consequences of gambling must be limited. A licensee must give registered players the opportunity to suspend themselves from games for a certain period of time or until further notice.”

Earlier this year, Hasse Lord Skarplöth, chief executive of ATG, published a blog post stating that Spelpaus was not enough to protect players, due to the fact that the service can’t ensure players are excluded from black market play.

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