Swedish regulator clarifies new sports betting restrictions

The new rules prohibit betting on lower leagues, under 18s' performance and on violations.
The new rules prohibit betting on lower leagues, under 18s' performance and on violations.

Spelinspektionen has offered clarification on the new rules that come into effect in January and confirmed they apply to esports betting.

Sweden.- The national gaming regulator, Spelinspektionen, has sought to clarify the scope of new restrictions on the markets that licensed operators can offer for betting. 

New rules on sports betting that enter force on January 1 prohibit betting on football leagues below Sweden’s top four tiers.

They also prohibit betting on violations of rules, such as bookings and red cards in football, and on the individual performance of players aged under 18.

The new regulations had provoked a number of queries from operators as to exactly what markets would be covered. 

In a bid to offer clarification, Spelinspektionen has said that the new rules against betting on under 18s’ “individual performance” cover bets on scoring or shots on goal in team games like football, performance in individual sports such as athletics, skiing, or shooting, and performance in singles matches in sports such as tennis, badminton or table tennis. 

However, the rules do not prohibit betting on doubles matches in sports such as tennis if the other participant in the doubles team is over 18, provided that the bet is on the pair’s overall performance or on the adult’s performance but not specifically on the under 18’s performance. 

To complicate matters further, if the majority of players (three out of four) in a doubles match are under 18, then all betting will be forbidden.

The new regulations apply to events in Sweden only. For competitions that have more than one leg, with one leg held in Sweden and one or more held abroad, both the event held in Sweden and the overall result of the competition will be subject to the regulations, but not the individual event or events held outside of Sweden.

As for betting on violations, operators had queried whether the restrictions prohibited taking bets on penalties or free kicks. Spelinspektionen has clarified that betting on a penalty or free kick being awarded will be prohibited, but betting on the result of the penalty of free kick once it has already been awarded will not.

The regulator also clarified that all of the regulations also apply to esports, but again only to competitions that take place in Sweden.

Operators will also only have the obligation to report suspicious betting activity on competitions hosted domestically, but the regular said it would welcome reports on suspicious behaviour on all events.

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) warned earlier in the year that the new restrictions could be counterproductive by pushing betting customers to the unregulated market

Meanwhile, Spelinspektionen’s revocation of Global Gaming’s licence in Sweden has become legally binding, after Global dropped its appeal against the decision.

The Ninja Casino operator’s subsidiary SafeEnt saw its licence withdrawn last year due to failings in its responsible gambling and anti-money laundering controls. It has dropped its appeal out of fear of jeopardising Enlabs’ acquisition of the company.

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regulation sports betting sweden