by Kajetan Sawicz

Svenska Spel Challenges Spelinspektionen’s Sanction as Regulatory Misinterpretation

In a recent turn of events, Svenska Spel, the state-owned Swedish gaming operator, has openly contested a penalty imposed by the Swedish Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen. The authority levied a SEK 100 million (£7.4 million) fine against Svenska Spel, citing lapses in the operator’s duty of care — a decision that Svenska Spel deems to be “inconsistent with regulations.”

Addressing the Allegations

Fredrik Wastenson, President and Business Area Manager of Svenska Spel Sport & Casino, acknowledged the Swedish Gambling Authority’s verdict but pointed out the proactive measures already taken by Svenska Spel to address the regulatory concerns. “We take on board the Swedish Gambling Authority’s decision. The regulatory period covers October to December 2021, and we have already addressed many of the comments,” Wastenson remarked.

Wastenson further highlighted Svenska Spel’s dedication to responsible gaming practices and its efforts to align with the evolving interpretation of the duty of care since its inception in 2019. “We have adapted our work as the picture has become clearer. We are constantly developing our work, methods, and technical capabilities to not only live up to the legislation but also our own high ambitions,” he added.

A Divergence in Assessments

The dispute centers around the assessment of the risk of gambling-related problems among customers. Svenska Spel insists on employing a holistic approach that incorporates evidence-based research, internal impact assessments, and existing legislation to gauge customer behavior and associated risks.

Wastenson elaborated on the discrepancy between Svenska Spel’s methodology and the Swedish Gambling Authority’s stance, stating, “In its decision, the Swedish Gambling Authority makes a different assessment, which goes further than what can be deduced from current regulations.” This divergence has prompted Svenska Spel to contemplate an appeal against the decision, signaling a potential legal challenge to the authority’s interpretation of the regulations.

Our Comment on the Situation

The contention between Svenska Spel and Spelinspektionen underscores a critical dialogue within the iGaming industry about the interpretation and implementation of regulatory standards, particularly concerning responsible gaming practices. This scenario highlights the need for a transparent and collaborative regulatory framework that both protects consumers and allows operators to innovate within clear guidelines. As this situation unfolds, it may set significant precedents for how gaming regulations are enforced and interpreted, not just in Sweden but potentially influencing broader international regulatory landscapes.

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