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Swedish court rules on appeals over underage betting cases

| By Robert Fletcher
The Swedish Court of Appeal in Jönköping rejected eight appeals against sanctions issued to operators that offered markets on sporting events featuring players aged under 18, but reduced penalty fees for two licensees.
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The country’s gambling regulator Spelinspektionen in July 2019 announced it was taking action against 10 licensees, handing out a number of official warnings and penalty fees in response to the breaches.

Operators were found to have offered markets on sporting events in which a majority of players were under 18, which is prohibited under the country’s gambling regulations.

Flutter’s Betfair, two ComeOn brands, Entain, Hajper, Bet365, Coolbet, Snabbare, The Stars Group Interactive and Zecure Gaming – then operated by Gaming Innovation Group, but since acquired by Betsson – were all involved in the case.

All 10 licensees appealed to the Administrative Court in Linköping but the Court sided with Spelinspektionen, ruling last April that the violations should be considered serious and warranted sanctions. 

The Court dismissed four appeals outright, but reduced the penalty fees for six and also annulled the decision in one instance, ordering the regulator to review the case. 

The companies then appealed the judgments to the Court of Appeal in Jönköping, but the Court has now dismissed eight of the appeals and reduced the penalty fee in two other cases.

Flutter Entertainment’s Betfair arm saw its penalty fee lowered from SEK5.5m (£465,832/€541,746/$642,107) to SEK4.5m. Polar, which operates the Coolbet brand, had its fee reduced from SEK650,000 to SEK600,000.

Polar was initially ordered to pay SEK700,000 by Spelinspektionen, but this was lowered by the Administrative Court in Linköping during a hearing last April.

However, all other penalty fees that were either administered by Spelinspektionen or set by the Court in Linköping last year remained in place.

As such, The Stars Group, which is now part of Flutter, will be required to pay a penalty fee of SEK10.0m. The Stars Group also failed in its initial appeal against the penalty during the Linköping Court session last year.

Bet365 also faces a fine of SEK10m after its Hillside Sports subsidiary failed with its appeal, while Cherry brand Snabbare is still required to pay SEK8m.

Snabbare had succeed in having this fee reduced from SEK 9.5m during the appeal session with the Court in Linköping.

ElectraWorks, which is owned by Entain, failed with its appeal over an SEK5.5m fine, while ComeOn, another Cherry brand, still faces an SEK5.5m fee, with this already having been lowered from the initial SEK6.5m set by Spelinspektionen during the earlier appeal session.

Haiper’s penalty remains at SEK4.0m, despite this having been reduced from SEK4.5m by the Court in Linköping, while Casinostugan, which had its fee lowered from SEK3.5m to SEK3.0m previously failed to have this reduced further.

Zecure Gaming’s penalty also remains at SEK3.0m, though this was reduced from SEK3.5m during the Linköping Court hearing.

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