Swedish gambling regulator fines Betfair for offering bets on under-21s football

Betting is only permitted on Sweden
Betting is only permitted on Sweden

Flutter-owned Betfair has been issued with a warning and fined €350,800.

Sweden.- The national gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has fined Flutter Entertainment’s Betfair SEK4m (€350,804) for offering prohibited football bets. The regulator found that Betfair had offered bets on the youth football league, U21 Allsvenskan.

Sweden’s gambling regulations only permit betting on the country’s four highest football leagues as a measure designed to prevent match-fixing. Spelinspektionen found that bets were offered on 148 U21 Allsvenskan matches in 2021 and 2022, and that 224 customers bet SEK1.1m on 139 of these matches.

Betfair said the bets had only been available on the Betfair Exchange, which matches customers against each other to form odds and bets. The operator takes a commission on the bets. However, it admitted that the presence of this market on the exchange was a breach of Swedish law. It said that it had a manual process of blocking access to prohibited betting markets and that this had failed in these cases.

The company said it no longer offers any betting on U21 Allsvenskan and that it has taken measures to ensure that all betting on lower leagues is blocked in Sweden. Players can now only bet on the top two leagues.

Spelinspektionen recognised the steps Betfair has taken but classified the breach as a  “serious” violation of Sweden’s gambling laws, taking the decision to issue a fine and a formal warning.

It said: “Betting on the U21 Allsvenskan is not permitted in order to protect young players from undue influence. Violating these regulations constitutes a serious violation. 

“The violation continued over a long period of time and on repeated occasions. It was systematically recurring during 2021 and 2022.”

The fine of SEK4m was decided based on Swedish regulations that set penalties for serious offences at a minimum of SEK5,000 and a maximum of 10 per cent of operator turnover. Betfair’s turnover was over SEK4.35bn in 2021, so the fine could have been as much as SEK435.5m. However, Spelinspektionen also considered the operator’s gross gaming revenue of SEK32.7m.

Major Swedish gambling operators back higher fees to fund regulator

Earlier this month, gambling operators expressed support for proposals to increase some of the fees they pay to Spelinspektionen. It’s been recognised that the regulator does not have sufficient funding to conduct its regulator duties.

The Swedish government has recently announced an extra SEK2.4m (€210,000) in funding for Spelinspektionen this year. However, the online gaming industry association BOS has said that it agrees with the regulator that more funding is required and that fees should cover the cost of licensing and supervision.

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