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Spelinspektionen looks to clarify decisions on licence terms

| By Robin Harrison
Sweden’s Gaming Inspectorate (Spelinspektionen) has explained its position on how licensees’ financial health affects their licence terms, the first of a number of clarifications to be issued on its interpretation of contentious elements of the country’s gambling regulations.
Svenska Spel 2023

It comes after a number of applicants for a licence in 2019 were only issued year-long licences, on the basis that the subsidiary companies through which the operators filed their submissions were in negative equity. 

This essentially meant that these subsidiaries owed more than it was worth, or had no supporting capital to fund its operations. In the case of operators’ subsidiaries, these are often used to apply for licences, with funding coming from the parent company. 

As a result Spelinspektionen had limited a number of licensees’ licence terms, including those issued to Gaming Innovation Group and Aspire Global. In each case, the operator challenged the regulator’s decision in the Administrative Court of Linköping, and by doing secured three-year licences, two years shorter than the maximum five years.

Spelinspektionen said that it would use the court’s decisions as a precedence for future decisions on companies in a similar position, meaning that those in negative equity would be issued with three-year licences. 

It explained that when it dealt with an applicant in negative equity, the three-year licence would hinge on whether the business had a satisfactory guarantee that the company in question had the capital to operate over the licence term. 

Should an operator look to renew their licence when they remain in negative equity, however, this will be rejected. Spelinspektionen said that whether or not that company had a capital guarantee, they would not meet the requirements of having a sound financial structure as set out in the Gaming Act. 

Spelinspektionen director general Camilla Rosenberg has previously explained to iGB that the regulations are likely to evolve and the regulator adapt its approach to applying the rules for a number of years following the Gaming Act’s implementation. 

This, she explained, would allow the Swedish courts to determine how best to interpret elements of the regulations.

It seems likely that other controversial issues, such as the implementation of the ban on betting on sports involving players aged 18 and under, and marketing regulations, will also be subject to similar clarifications.

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