Swedish regulator threatens tough action on self-exclusion

The Swedish gambling regulator has threatened tough action against operators who do not interact with the national self-exclusion system. Spelinspektionen warned that licences could be removed as a “last resort”.

Boardwalk in Sweden

Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen has promised tough action if operators fail to handle self-exclusion requests. © Pexels.

The Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen is taking a tough stance with operators who breach the terms of their license.

Take up rates of self-exclusion in Sweden are high when compared to the UK and other European countries. Over ten thousand Swedish adults had registered with Spelpaus.se within 7 days of the scheme going live on New Years’ Day. With a recent poll suggesting that nearly half of the population of Sweden’s 10.2m (48%) wasn’t aware of the ability to self-exclude, this figure is likely to increase.

It is problems with Sweden’s self-exclusion program that has forced a reaction from the regulator. Swedish journalists have highlighted shortcomings in the self-exclusion system. A later investigation found that some operators had no contact with the Spelpaus.se platform.

A Spelinspektionen spokesperson outlined the process for dealing with non-compliance. The first stage would be the regulator writing to the company to ask for an explanation. If the regulator is not satisfied with the answer then a formal warning will be issued. A warning could also come with severe financial penalties, with offending operators facing a fine of up to ten times the amount of turnover for the year.

If a company is unable or unwilling to comply then further sanctions are available to the regulator. The most severe punishment would be a revoking of the license to operate, something Spelinspektionen would consider as a “last resort”.

The two companies that were the subject of the media attention are Aspire Global and Genesis Global.

Established in 2005, Aspire has eight online casino brands including Barbados Casino, KaiserSlots Casino and Mr Play Casino. Genesis Global are also a smaller operator with seven online casino brands.

Both companies failed to have their internal systems interact with Spelpaus.se. This allowed excluded players to sign up for new accounts and also allowed promotional material to be sent out to vulnerable groups. A letter from the regulator was received by the two operators who have since stated the issue is resolved.

Genesis Global blamed the issue on a failure of third-party systems that prevented access to the data held by Spelpaus. A spokesperson for Genesis said all accounts that shouldn’t have been opened have now since been closed and stressed that the company would not profit because of the failure and refunds had been made. He reiterated that the company is now complying with all regulatory requirements.

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