Sports betting regulation

Spelinspektionen looks to clarify scope of new betting controls

3 minutes read
Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen has moved to clarify the scope of incoming restrictions on markets the country's betting licensees can offer, while confirming that the new rules will extend to esports betting.

The restrictions are due to come into force on 1 January 2021, and will prohibit betting on Swedish football leagues outside the nation’s four top tiers.

Bets on the individual performance of any players under the age of 18 are to be prohibited, while operators will no longer be permitted to offer odds on rule violations, such as yellow and red cards in football.

Responding to questions from the industry, Spelinspektionen explained that the rule preventing betting on an individual performance in a sports competition by an athlete under the age of 18, refers to items such as shots on goal or scoring in team games.

It also covers any betting on athletes under the age of 18 in individual sports such as singles matches in tennis, badminton or table tennis, or individual performances in athletics, skiing, or shooting, for example.

Betting on doubles matches where one participant is over 18 and one is under, however, is allowed if the betting refers to the pair’s performance or concerns only the performance of the player over 18. If three or four players in a double match are under 18, no betting may be offered as the majority of participants are minors.

The regulations apply only to competitions played in Sweden. Therefore in sporting events with two or more legs – where one match is played in Sweden and another is played in another country – only bets on the outcome of both events, or the match played in Sweden, will be subject to the regulations.

While betting on rule violations leading to penalties being awarded is prohibited, betting on the outcome of, for example, a free kick or penalty in football – as in,. whether or not it will result in a goal – is permitted after the penalty has been awarded.

The regulator clarified that the regulations apply to esports as well as traditional sports, but only where the competitions take place in Sweden.

The obligation to report suspicious betting activity only refers to sports performed in Sweden, it said, though it was noted that there is no obstacle to licensees reporting suspicious behaviour relating to sports performed outside the jurisdiction.

The regulations were subject to criticism from the industry when they were put forward this year, with Swedish operator Svenska Spel claiming that the rules still left plenty of scope for sports manipulation.

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), meanwhile, warned that plans to restrict betting on rule violations in Sweden ran the risk of pushing players to offshore operators, therefore increasing the threat posed by match-fixers.

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