The trade association for iGaming operators in Sweden, the Branscheforenigen For Onlinespel (BOS), has reportedly written to the nation’s financial authority to ask why local banks have suddenly started withdrawing services for licensed online gaming operators.
According to a Wednesday report from iGamingBusiness.com, the inquiry to the Finansinspektionen comes after a raft of major financial institutions including Nordea, Swedbank, SEB, Danske Bank, Handelsbanken and DNB Nor started refusing to handle any transactions involving iGaming even if the operator is licensed by the country’s Spelinspektionen regulator. The source detailed that these denials, which have been growing in prevalence since the start of the year, are all the more important because such financial institutions also own the Bank-ID identification system and Swish remote payment service.
In his letter to the Finansinspektionen, the General Secretary for the BOS, Gustaf Hoffstedt, reportedly disclosed that most of banks are citing their own internal risk assessments or Sweden’s Anti-Money Laundering Act for their new-found refusal to process online gambling transactions. However, he purportedly moreover declared that others ‘have not stated any reason at all’ to leave many members of his organization unable to efficiently send, receive or process vital revenues.
Hoffstedt reportedly also proclaimed that these knockbacks are not acceptable as licensed iGaming operators in Sweden are ‘dependent on basic financial infrastructure’ including an ability ‘to store customer funds as well as receive deposits and make payments to customers’. To make matters worse and the representative purportedly stated that the ensuing inability of online gaming firms to utilize the Bank-ID and Swish innovations means that they have been put at a disadvantage in the fight against fraud and money laundering.
Finally, Hoffstedt reportedly pronounced that numerous members of the BOS are now being obliged ‘to use alternative solutions to identify their customers,’ and that such products ‘risk being neither as effective for companies nor as safe for users.’ This purportedly comes as a detailed examination from Swedish police placed online gambling at the ‘highest threat level’ regarding money laundering and contended that operators are often unknowingly ‘at risk’ of falling foul of such illicit activities.
Reportedly read the letter from Hoffstedt…
“Bank-ID and Swish are important competitive advantages for licensed Swedish operators in their daily battle against unlicensed operators. We need the banks to be on the right side of this combat and that is the reason we today ask the Finansinspektionen for aid in this matter.”