Sweden submits new sports betting rules

The new rules could be introduced by the end of the year.
The new rules could be introduced by the end of the year.

Sweden’s gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has submitted new rules that limit betting to top-flight sport in a bid to prevent match fixing.

Sweden.- The regulator Spelinspektionen has submitted new rules on match fixing to Sweden’s National Board of Trade, which will now notify the European Commission of the proposed changes. 

The new rules would limit betting to the top four divisions of football. This would include the Swedish Cup, meaning that punters would only be able to bet on cup matches in which both teams are from the top four divisions. 

The regulator is seeking to prevent betting on lower leagues, which it sees as more vulnerable to match fixing.

The new rules would also apply to matches involving foreign teams. Markets would only be permitted when the foreign team is from one of the top four divisions in its home country. Betting on international matches would also be restricted to under-21 level and upwards. 

Betting on rule violations such as on yellow cards or penalties in football would also be prohibited, and it would be forbidden to offer bets on the individual performances of players aged under 18 years.

Licensees would be required to produce annual reports on potential match fixing activity.

Spelinspektionen had initially considered introducing a ban on betting on all international friendlies, but has rowed back on this part of the original proposal following criticism from online gambling association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel.

Under the proposal now submitted for approval, betting on international friendlies will still be permitted.

The EC now has to give its opinion on the proposed regulations, a process that will take a little over three months. Spelinspektionen said the rules are unlikely to come into effect until the end of the year.

It has published an impact assessment on the new rules.

Spelinspektionen said it had attempted to strike a balance between preventing match fixing without pushing operators away from Sweden. It said that for the majority of operators the effects of the proposed new rules would be minimal and require on-off actions.

It said in a statement: “Match fixing is considered one of the biggest threats to sports today and therefore also to betting and the companies that provide betting. There are, as far as can be judged, great risks in offering bets on games at low divisions in football.

“Monitoring from sports federations and the media is lower and the athletes are more vulnerable because they do not make money. There is also a risk of athletes or whole associations coming into contact with match fixing at lower levels and then taking the problem up through the pyramid with any sporting success.

“The regulations proposed in will not be discriminatory. They are motivated by compelling public interest considerations and the integrity of Swedish sports, are appropriate to achieve their goals and do not go beyond what is necessary to achieve a well-functioning gaming market where sporting integrity is preserved.”

Fears were raised in Sweden last month over match fixing in amateur football.

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