Spelinspektionen issues ban on yellow card markets

Spelinspektionen, the Swedish gambling regulator, has issued a further crackdown on match-fixing after confirming that it will ban betting markets on rule violations such as expulsions, penalties and yellow cards in football.

The new rules, which come into force from 1 January 2021, will be applicable to games played in Sweden. The regulations, according to the regulator, will mean that ‘there will be no reason to influence the outcome of gambling on the Swedish licensed market in the affected areas’.

The regulator said: “Football is a high-risk sport when it comes to match-fixing and there are special risks with low divisions. Surveillance is poorer and practitioners do not make money from their sport.

“The Swedish Gambling Authority has therefore chosen to place special emphasis on football and has taken into account views received from the consultative bodies.”

In addition, the regulator will also prohibit markets on all but the top four divisions of football in Sweden (Allsvenskan, Superettan, Division 1 Norra and Södra) and the six regional Division 2 leagues as well as on under-21 internationals.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of online gaming operators’ association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), criticised the new regulation, stating that it was a political move to meet the needs of the National Athletics Association, Swedish Football Association and politicians.

He said: “Spelinspektionen claims to have found a well-balanced point between different interests but there is no balanced point in this matter. Either you believe restrictions for licensed companies lead to reduced match-fixing [or not].

“In that case, I wonder why Spelinspektionen can be content with these relatively peripheral restrictions. In that case, the only responsibility would be to impose restrictions on almost everything if one is so convinced that they have a positive effect.

“The Swedish Gambling Authority is often blamed for a lot of things when in fact it is the government that is to be held accountable.

“This case is unique however in that it is the SGA itself that has chosen to impose the restrictions and this without any analysis of their effect. This, of course, damages SGA’s reputation.”

Speaking at last week’s SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital, Hoffstedt hit back at the temporary regulatory measures that the Swedish government has introduced during the pandemic, stating that such policies are detrimental to rates of channelisation.

He pointed out that politics has played a role in the decision to introduce deposit limits,  pointing out that verticals which were owned – or associated with – the government faced little in the way of deposit limits. 

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