Date: 29.05.2024

by Adam Dworak

Last update: 29.05.2024 09:36

Hacksaw Gaming and Panda Bluemoon Fined for Regulatory Breaches in Sweden

Hacksaw Gaming must pay a penalty fee of SEK 2.6 million (£192,741/€226,351/$246,236) for regulatory breaches, while Panda Bluemoon is being ordered to pay SEK 700,000 for a similar breach in Sweden.

Hacksaw Gaming’s Breach and Response

In January, Spelinspektionen identified that Hacksaw Gaming was providing content to two unlicensed, unnamed gambling sites. This came despite the regulator issuing a reminder to providers of their responsibilities in October 2023.

Responding to the case, Hacksaw Gaming stated it has measures in place to stop access to its games in Sweden, including geo-blocking, where users trying to play its games via prohibited sites receive a message stating they cannot play in Sweden.

Hacksaw also argued that developers cannot be held responsible for their games being playable in regions where the operator in question is not licensed. The company emphasized that it does not intentionally develop games to target Sweden without the appropriate license. As such, Hacksaw concluded that the actual operators offering its games should be held accountable.

However, Spelinspektionen assessed that since the games were playable in Sweden, this indicated that Hacksaw’s measures were “inadequate.” The regulator also disagreed with the argument that operators should be held responsible for such breaches. “It is the person who has the licence who is responsible for ensuring that gaming software is not provided to players without the necessary licence, regardless of whether an agreement has been signed with another party,” Spelinspektionen said.

The regulator acknowledged that Hacksaw has made changes to prevent similar issues in the future. However, it concluded that the breach warranted a penalty and warning.

Similar Charges for Panda Bluemoon

In the case of Panda Bluemoon, the charges set out by Spelinspektionen are similar. Like Hacksaw, Panda Bluemoon was contacted in January for providing games to two unlicensed sites.

Panda Bluemoon held a similar defense, stating that users trying to play its games through unauthorized sites are met with warning messages. The developer also claimed that the operators in question were offering the games without its permission. Panda Bluemoon stated it has taken measures to prevent similar breaches in the future and argued that a warning or penalty would be “disproportionate” to the breach.

However, Spelinspektionen provided a similar assessment to the Hacksaw case, stating it is the responsibility of developers to control where their games are available. It also criticized Panda Bluemoon’s measures to prevent unauthorized play as “inadequate.”

“The fact that players from Sweden receive the message ‘the game is not available from your region’ does not change that assessment,” the regulator said. “It is the licensee who is responsible for the game software not being provided to players without the necessary licence.” As a result, Spelinspektionen concluded that Panda Bluemoon should face a SEK 700,000 penalty and an official warning.