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Swedish government abandons offshore enforcement measures

The Swedish government will not implement a proposal to give authorities the authority to prohibit all unauthorised forms of gambling from the market, regardless of whether the operators targeted Swedish players.

When submitting a new law against match-fixing and unlawful gambling to the country's Legal Council (Lagdet), the government stated it would not proceed with the proposal.

Gunnar Larsson, director general of the Ministry of Finance and the Chamber of Commerce, issued a report in 2021 addressing match-fixing and unlawful gambling.

Under the existing system, the Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen has responsibility over any gaming that targets the Swedish market, such as through marketing or local payment methods, and may take action against unlicensed companies.

However, the research suggested that the act's reach be expanded to encompass all gaming options accessible to Swedish gamers.

Therefore, operators passively accepting Swedish consumers without a local licence were potentially liable to regulatory action.

When the suggestions were presented for public comment, the government found that the majority of respondents either supported the approach or were indifferent to it. Spelinspektionen remarked that a modification would lessen the necessity for interpreting what it means to target Sweden.

On the other side, the state treasury stated that it was "not rational" to implement the move since it would require enterprises with no ties to Sweden to take steps to avoid acquiring Swedish clients.

In the meanwhile, the Administrative Court in Linkoping stated that it was unclear whether the Swedish government had the authority to make such a modification. The Office of the Public Prosecutor stated that the guidelines would be "very difficult to investigate and prosecute."

As a consequence, the administration opted not to execute the adjustment. It said that "there was a possibility that the focus would be on whether gamers are Swedish residents or permanent residents, rather than on whether the games are tailored for the Swedish market."

However, the government stated that "there are still compelling reasons for allowing the existing extent of application of the Gaming Act to be refined through experience before considering an expansion of the scope."

While it did not proceed with the plan to broaden the scope of the Gambling Act, it did approve a proposal to streamline the payment blocking procedure.

Among the replies to the consultation was one from the State Treasury, which highlighted that Spelinspektionen "had had problems applying the laws on payment blocking as the legislator intended." Spelinspektionen stated that the new idea will result in "a simpler and more efficient procedure."

The government recommended enabling licensees to process personal data in order to determine if a sportsperson has participated in insider betting.

Similarly, athletic organisations should be permitted to process this information for the same reasons.

Previously, the study had stated that in Sweden there is "no actor with a clearly specified role for obtaining, compiling, analysing, and disseminating information concerning suspected match-fixing" and that information exchange has been hindered by certain data protection regulations. It was stated that this hindered attempts to combat match-fixing.

The administration also concluded that a more precise definition of "match-fixing" was required.

The new legislation are planned to take effect on July 1, 2023.