Betfair Abstains from Swedish Tennis Market Due to Regulator
Customers of Betfair in Sweden are still unable to bet on tennis in the exchange market after the bookmaker stopped accepting bets in the summer. The move was due to the Swedish regulator’s rules on offering bets on sporting fixtures involving under-18’s.
The online bookmaker was forced to remove all tennis markets as their current exchange platform does not allow the removal of just one event. The company’s sportsbook offering doesn’t suffer from these technical problems and continues to offer the sport. Betfair has confirmed they are aware of the issues but don’t consider the issue to be a high priority.
The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has been fining bookmakers who have been offering betting on events where the majority of those involved are under the age of 18 with ten companies falling foul of the regulator to date.
The SGA actively monitors the markets that the bookmakers offer following complaints that were made. The SGA launched an investigation and initiated “special supervision” of their betting activities. Reports in the Swedish press, the Swedish Football Association (SFA) contacted the SGA to report that they have identified 18 incidents where betting on underage players and matches had taken place. The Football Association was concerned that this could lead to match-fixing involving youth players. In August this year, ComeOn was fined 20m SEK for the offence, this followed on from financial penalties imposed on Bet365, GVC, The Stars Group, Flutter Entertainment, Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), Bethard Group, Casinostugan Limited and Polar limited.
However, the regulator has come under scrutiny due to the vagueness of the law and to what constitutes a “majority” with the Swedish trade group BOS asking the regulator for “Clear guidance. Beforehand and well-motivated – not afterwards as a fine including an invoice of SEK10m or more.” BOS CEO, Gustaf Hoffstedt said in a recent interview that he didn’t believe that heavily regulating sporting events would reduce the risk of match-fixing in “Sweden, nor in any other jurisdiction.” Hoffstedt said the consequences of stringent regulation was that licensed operators would leave the Swedish market and this would create openings for unlicensed ones, he added;
The first consequence is probably celebrations at unlicensed betting operators and at the criminal group that organise match fixing.– Gustaf Hoffstedt, BOS CEO.
The CEO also encouraged bookmakers who operated in Sweden but who were not members of the trade group to sign up with his organisation. Hoffstedt said the regulator had at least ten times the resources that the trade union have in their lobby efforts, and they needed to take a collaborative stand. He added that the vision was to keep the sportsbook wide, deep and attractive within the licensing system.