Bet365 Fined in Sweden over Taking Bets on U18 Football Game

Hillside (Sports) ENC, the Sweden-licensed entity of online gambling giant bet365, has been scolded by the local regulator, Spelinspektionen for taking bets on a football match in which the majority of participants were under the age of 18.

The operator was fined SEK1 million (approx. $115,695) for its violation and was issued a warning by the Swedish Gambling Authority.

The agency has decided to punish bet365 after discovering that the locally licensed operator accepted bets from its customers on a match played at the end of March 2020 between Kronängs IF and Mariedals IK. Spelinspektionen reported that 71% of all players that took part in the game were under 18.

The regulator said in a statement on its official website that bet365 violated Chapter 8 of Sweden’s Gaming Act, which took effect in early 2019. Under the country’s gambling law, locally licensed operators are prohibited from taking bets on matches classified as under-18 (U18) events. The Gambling Authority further noted that the game in question fell under that classification.

Spelinspektionen noted that while “there has been no question of a serious violation”, there were mitigating circumstances as bet365’s breach only covered a single match. As a result, the operator was only reprimanded and imposed a SEK1 million fine.

Previous Violations

This is not the first time bet365 was punished by the Swedish regulator over accepting bets on matches involving players under 18.

In the summer of 2019, the major UK company was one of eight Spelinspektionen licensees to get a fine from the agency for offering betting options on sporting events that featured a majority of participants under 18. Bet365’s Hillside (Sports) was imposed a much larger penalty that time. The company was fined SEK10 million for its violations.

Following a number of sanctions issued by Spelinspektionen in 2019, the first year of regulated online gambling in Sweden, BOS, the trade body representing the nation’s regulated sector, urged the regulator to clarify its rules relating to underage betting as locally licensed operators were unwillingly falling foul of a confusing Chapter 8 guidance.

To avoid further regulatory trouble, bet365 has made it known that as of May 2019, it has stopped accepting wagers on all Swedish football matches classified as U20, U21, U22, and U23.

The operator also appealed its SEK10 million fine, slamming the Swedish gambling regulator for failing to handle the issue in a transparent and fair way. However, the Administrative Court in Linköping rejected its appeal, ruling that the seriousness of its violations matched the penalty it was levied by Spelinspektionen.

Source: Hillside (Sports) ENC receives reprimand and penalty fee for betting on matches with participants under 18 years, Spelinspektionen Newsroom, March 25, 2021

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