Betsson has won its appeal against a SEK 20m ($2.4m) fine handed out by Swedish gaming regulator SGA in June 2020. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Cause for Betsson to celebrate
For the second time this year, Betsson has come out on top in a Swedish court. The operator avoided blame for a player’s compulsive gambling in March, and has now overturned a Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) fine totaling SEK 20m ($2.4m).
offered illegal bonuses to players via a branded Mastercard debit card
The latest court case relates back to an SGA penalty from June 2020. Betsson stood accused of transgressing Swedish law by letting its customers fund online betting accounts using retail vouchers. The gambling operator also allegedly offered illegal bonuses to players via a branded Mastercard debit card.
Betsson subsequently decided to appeal the sanction, arguing that the vouchers were “in line with the applicable law.” In a statement on its website on Tuesday, the operator revealed that the Administrative Court had ruled in its favor.
A closer look at the case
The SGA, known locally as the Spelinspektionen, gave its original ruling based on an investigation launched in November 2019. The national gaming regulator determined that Betsson had worked in partnership with convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and Pressbyrån to sell vouchers used to fund accounts.
Betsson argued that the stores did not actually sell any of the vouchers
Based on its research, the SGA concluded that the convenience stores had illegally appointed themselves as gaming agents without holding the required licenses. In contrast, Betsson argued that the stores did not actually sell any of the vouchers, explaining that they were simply part of a marketing ploy.
The second half of the SGA’s ruling related to Betsson’s partnership with Mastercard. Gamblers could apply for a limited-edition debit card which linked directly to their Betsson account. The SGA argued that promotions provided through the card transgressed bonus regulations for gambling.
Again, Betsson argued that it had operated within the boundaries of the law. The company said the aim of the Mastercard was to allow faster withdrawals for customers. It refuted the idea that any incentives offered through the debit card were player bonuses.
According to Betsson’s statement, the Administrative Court has decided that the SGA lacked the legal grounds to provide the penalty, and has therefore revoked the fine and warning.
Another win in court
This is not the first time Betsson has secured victory in a court case this year. In March, the Swedish Patent and Market Court ruled in favor of Betsson in a trial regarding a problem gambler. The unnamed customer had filed a lawsuit accusing Betsson subsidiary BML Group of exploiting gambling addiction for financial gain.
The plaintiff sought SEK 153m ($18m) in compensation from Betsson for losses and damages incurred between 2009 and 2014. In that time, the gambler deposited €700,000 ($834,152) before closing their account and receiving a gambling addiction diagnosis. They accused the company of profiting from illegal gambling and employing tactics of aggressive marketing which amounted to harassment.
Despite the plaintiff’s claims, the judge ultimately ruled in favor of Betsson. The court ordered the unnamed customer to compensate BML’s legal fees.