Dan Korhonen: The risk of matches or parts of matches being manipulated in Sweden remains relatively high
This time we talk to Dan Korhonen, Head of Product Sports Betting & Sportsbook Integrity Svenska Spel, on topics related to sports integrity. We focus primarily on the Swedish market, but not only, as the topic relates to all regulated markets.
How do you assess the level of match-fixing risk in Sweden? How has this risk level changed over the past years?
The risk of matches or parts of matches being manipulated in Sweden remains relatively high. The main reason is the continued high level of player imports from countries in the East and the fact that the Swedish football season is in progress when most of the European leagues are on break.
I think the level of risk has been the same for many years from our perspective, we have of course taken steps to improve and made it harder to conduct such business on Swedish soil but there is always a need to be aware and always assume that the criminals on their end also improves.
How do the initiatives taken by Svenska Spel contribute to promoting integrity in sports?
Svenska Spel as a state owned company was among the first in Sweden to raise awareness about the potential risk of sports being manipulated for criminal causes. Throughout the years we have worked close with the sport federations, police and prosecutors to educate and together find the best way and implement the best initiatives to protect the sport.
Measures have been education of government bodies, police and sport federations as well as the athletes themselves and coaches and other club representatives as well.
How would you evaluate the awareness level of Swedes regarding match-fixing? Are they aware of the significant role that bookmakers and operators play in preventing such activities?
I think we have come a long way and the awareness has developed from the lowest level when we started the work many years ago to being at a very good level today in 2023. Svenska Spel has always been very clear on spreading awareness about the strong relationship between online gambling, bookmakers and match fixing and all that comes with that.
Bet offers, markets, betting limits and KYC all have a strong impact as well as the live data being distributed all over the world, Svenska Spel has always offered betting by terms of the sport since we are making profit on their product we need to protect it and by doing so we protect our customers as well.
You’ve been involved in matters related to sports integrity for almost five years now. What has been the most significant challenge for you during this period?
Actually I have been involved in matters related to sports integrity for over 15 years now since we at Svenska Spel implement the work in the whole sports organization, I was monitoring and trading back then and analyzing potential odds deviations in the Asian market.
The biggest challenge is always to get the right legislation in place and by that I mean both the one that regulates the betting and criminal activity, as well as having the right resources and authorities in place to discover, investigate and finally convict those who are found to be in breach of this legislation.
Law changes and authority assignments are not something that changes quickly, but I hope that Sweden will eventually have as strong a protection as possible for all our sports and athletes.
Your career at Svenska Spel started back in 2008, giving you firsthand experience of how the Swedish market has evolved over the years. What do you foresee for the near future of the market, and what role do you believe Svenska Spel will play in shaping its future?
I believe that the Swedish market will soon reach it´s peak after many years of growth and Svenska Spel will continue to be the number one operator when it comes to protect our customers both from gambling over their financial capacity as well as protecting sports from falling into the hands of criminals.
And along side with those two very important measures deliver the best player experience in Sweden with a mix of a unique offering and high end features.