Swedish regulator clarifies licensing rules on virtual sports
The Swedish Gaming Authority (Spelinspektionen) has issued advice to licensed operators looking to offer betting on virtual sports in the absence of traditional sports events.
Many sports leagues and tournaments around the world have been postponed or cancelled due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), meaning options for sports betting are currently limited.
Spelinspektionen said it had noted an increase in enquiries about betting on virtual sports events and has now clarified what operators in the country need to do to ensure these can be offered in line with regulations.
The regulator said operators that hold a betting licence in Sweden can offer wagering on virtual sports, without having to apply for approval from Spelinspektionen.
“The Gaming Act is not limited to what forms of betting can be provided within the license, regardless of the betting forms that the applicant crossed in his application,” Spelinspektionen explained. “However, the terms of the license indicate which types of betting must not be offered.”
Spelinspektionen added that licensees which want to add virtual sports betting to their existing offering must first inform the regulator before launching the product. Operators can email Spelinspektionen with their licence information.
The regulator also said that licensees must also review their technical documents and certification to ensure it covers all forms of play it provides. If a certificate needs to be updated, it does not need to be sent to the regulator, but it must be available from the licensee and be able to be shown upon request.
Meanwhile, Spelinspektionen said it has notified the police about four businesses that have been offering online gambling services in the country illegally.
The regulator did not reveal the identity of any of the operators in question, but it did confirm that none of them held the relevant licence to offer gambling in Sweden.
Though Spelinspektionen monitors any breaches of the Swedish Gaming Act, it is the police who are responsible for investigating violations. Operators that offer games without the necessary licence can be fined or their executives imprisoned.
The industry updates come as reports from Sweden suggest government ministers are mulling a temporary shut-down or new restrictions on online casino to avoid an increase in gambling-related harm during the coronavirus pandemic.
Spelinspektionen told iGB the government is considering a number of measures to protect consumers in the country, at a time when restrictions on movement are in place.
Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi, who holds responsibility for gambling policy, this week warned “extraordinary measures” may be taken if operators do not take action to protect consumers at a time casino play is on the rise.