The Swedish Gaming Inspectorate (Spelinspektionen) must implement a ban on betting involving yellow cards, as in football, in an effort to contain match-fixing in the country.
Operators will also not be able to place bets on individual achievements of players under the age of 18, outside the four main divisions of national football and international senior or under-21 games. The new rules take effect on January 1, 2021.
The rules, however, would apply only to games played in Sweden. Which means that more markets can be offered with sporting events taking place elsewhere.
According to Spelinspektionen, the chances of these games being fixed on the Swedish licensed betting market are slim.
New Spelinspektionen measures are criticized by operators
Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of the operators’ association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), said that – in an effort to strike a balance between divergent views – the regulator has placed himself in a position that may be more rooted in politics than in politics. good regulation.
“Spelinspektionen claims to have found a balance between different interests. But there is no balance on this issue. Or do you believe that restrictions for licensed companies lead to a reduction in earnings manipulation?” Said Hoffstedt.
He continued: “In that case, I wonder why Spelinspektionen can be content with these peripheral restrictions. In that case, the only responsibility would be to impose limitations on almost everything, if someone is convinced that they have a positive effect.”
Gustaf Hoffstedt further argued that, instead of reducing the danger of combining results, the new measures would increase the risk and have little positive impact.
“The EMS is often held responsible for a number of things, when in fact it is the government that should be held responsible. In this case, however, it was Spelinspektionen himself who chose to impose the restrictions, and this without any analysis of effect”, stressed.
Hoffstedt added that the rules will create a huge risk in an environment where sports betting is estimated to be between 80% and 85%, below the legislator’s target of 90%.
He warned that, in the current environment, the combination of results that occurs is more difficult to detect because it is outside the Swedish licensing system.
Regulator advocates banning bets on lower divisions
In contrast, the Swedish regulator stressed that the rules are required because football in the lower divisions does not have the same level of control against match-fixing.
“Football is a high-risk sport when it comes to combining results and there are special risks with smaller divisions. Surveillance is poorer and practitioners do not earn money from sport. The entity chose to place a special emphasis on football and took into account the opinions received from Organs consultative bodies ”.
Operators must also provide annual reports on suspected match-fixing to the regulator, including each suspected case. Spelinspektionen first proposed banning bets on rule violations and bets on athletes aged 18 or under in January.
BOS strongly opposed the proposal, claiming that it was effectively “decriminalizing match-fixing”. The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) argued that there was little evidence that the measures would have a noticeable impact on protecting sporting integrity, but could benefit the unlicensed market.
In April, Spelinspektionen launched another consultation for rules against betting in the lower leagues, after state agency Svenska Spel condemned an increase in bets on smaller competitions during the pandemic. In addition, Spelinspektionen submitted the rules to the European Commission in May.