Betway loses Spelinspektionen bonus penalty appeal

Betway has lost its appeal to dismiss-or-reduce its SEK 4.7 million (€460,000) fine issued by Swedish gambling inspectorate Spelinspektionen in relation to bonus violations sanctioned in 2019.

The Court of Appeal of Jönköping sided with Spelinspektionen in its assessment that Betway had violated ‘Section 9’ of Sweden’s reformed Gaming Act by offering players ‘recurred bonus incentives’ for further deposits and playing on free games. 

At the start of 2019, Sweden re-launched its online gambling regime, in which licensed operators are limited to offer player bonuses as a one-time reward on customer sign-ups.

Following Spelinspektionen’s Q1 2019 inspection of customer incentives, Betway and and Mandalorian Technologies were the first operators to be penalised for breaching the bonus terms of the Gaming Act and were subsequently handed the respective penalties of SEK 5 million and SEK 9 million. 

Launching an appeal, Betway had been initially successful in reducing the Spelinspektionen fine on the grounds that the penalty did not match its % gross turnover. 

However, the Jönköping Court dismissed Betway’s secondary appeal to terminate the penalty. Betway appealed based on the grounds that its operations were adjusting to new player restrictions sanctioned by Spelinspektionen.

The court sided with Spelinspektionen, as the regulator had written to all licensed operators ahead of the new online gambling regime’s launch, warning incumbents of their duties on bonus incentives, player promotions and terms and conditions.

Spelinspektionen’s 2019 regulatory actions saw a number of legal challenges launched against the inspectorate, as licensed incumbents stated that the regulatory agency had not provided clear information on market technicalities related to promotions, restricted betting markets and bonuses.

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