Sweden warns licensees to respect bonus restrictions
Published 20th February 2019
Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has sent out another warning to its licensees, this time regarding the controls around bonus offers.
The country’s regulations state that operators can only offer players a bonus the first time they play on their site.
However in a letter sent to all licensees, Spelinspektionen noted that a number of operators are making several different forms of bonuses available, with players able to take advantage of more than one in some cases. This issue, which it said had been highlighted through complaints, comments and tips from the public, amounted to a breach of the bonus restrictions set out by the Gambling Act. The rule could significantly affect affiliates active in the Swedish market.
The regulator said that this could encourage players to gamble in an unhealthy way, and warned that it had already initiated supervision orders against several - unnamed operators - as a result of the bonuses they are offering.
Spelinspektionen reiterated the fact that all discount offers, cashback promotions or other financial incentives are considered a bonus under law, and can therefore only be offered to players the first time they gamble with a licensee.
It also dismissed claims that the law was unclear in any way.
“[There] is a definition in the law that states that all discounts or similar financial incentives linked to games are to be seen as a bonus,” the letter from Spelinspektionen operations chief Patrik Gustavsson explained. “It is also clear that a licensee can only offer bonuses the first time a player plays at the licensee’s [site].”
Gustafsson warned operators that failed to comply with the regulations could face hefty fines, and even having licences revoked in some cases.
Spelinspektionen has already been forced to issue warnings to licensees regarding Sweden’s national self-exclusion system for gambling. It first warned operators of the need to integrate with the Spelpaus.se system, naming Aspire Global and Genesis Global as two that had failed to comply with this regulatory requirement.
This was followed by a demand for companies to ensure they check players’ names against the self-exclusion register before allowing them to gamble or targeting them with advertising.
The regulator has warned that it will not issue any further warnings on this matter, instead targeting non-compliant licensees with supervision orders, fines, or even licence revocations.