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Bet365 and Betfair have been struck with fines totalling SEK83m (€7.3m) by the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA).


Bet365 not proactive enough

The vast majority of those fines were issued to Hillside Gaming and Hillside Sports, the respective parent companies behind bet365’s online casino and sports betting operations in Sweden.

Hillside Sports bore the brunt of the fines as it was ordered to pay a penalty fee of SEK65m.

Hillside Gaming, meanwhile, was ordered to pay a further SEK14m.

The SGA said it believed that both companies had not taken sufficient measures to protect their customers against excessive gambling.

The operator did not help customers to reduce their gambling when there were reasons for doing so, the regulator said, and also allowed customers to gamble without setting deposit limits, which is a requirement of Swedish gambling regulations.

In addition, the operator had not worked proactively enough regarding customer risks in cases where customers exhibited problematic gambling behaviour.

The SGA said it had taken too long for bet365 to implement measures aimed at preventing harmful gambling, and as a result the regulator determined that the operator had breached its duty of care.

Bet365 specific failings

The SGA analysed customer data from a number of bet365 sports bettors and casino players over a period of two months from October to December 2021.

By way of example, the regulator found that one customer, born in 2001, had a monthly deposit limit of SEK5m, and lost SEK261,593 over the two-month audit period.

The customer deposited funds on 53 of the 62 audited days, and the SGA found that they had spent many consecutive days and nights gambling with increasing frequency, often depositing funds several times per day.

During the first week of the audit, the customer made 61 deposits totalling more than SEK90,000, using the funds to place 66 bets.

After increasing frequency saw the customer deposit more than SEK368,000 over 85 occasions in the third week of the audit process, bet365 prompted them to complete a mandatory self-examination test for problem gambling.

The operator said the results of the self-examination did not give it any cause for concern. On the same day, the customer made a further 12 deposits totalling SEK17,200.

After continuing to gamble heavily for several more weeks, the customer was eventually prompted by bet365 to take a break in the form of a timeout, and to review their existing deposit limits.

The customer’s gambling subsequently decreased for the following two weeks, before the activity began to increase again.

Following the end of the audit period, the customer’s account was automatically suspended by bet365 after their details were registered with the self-exclusion register Spelpaus.

Several other customers exhibiting similar behaviour – making several deposits every day totalling hundreds of thousands of kroner per week – were identified by the SGA over the audit period.

Bet365 told the regulator that it had carried out full risk assessments of the customers including special considerations for younger players and those previously registered with self-exclusion schemes.

The operator added that it did not accept that it allowed players to play without a deposit limit.

While it did have a ‘no limit’ option when asking players to set boundaries, it argued that its system in fact limited deposits to under SEK500m (€44.1m).

Bet365 outcome

The SGA determined that by allowing customers to play without deposit limits and taking a relatively ‘light’ approach to those exhibiting potentially harmful gambling behaviour, bet365 had failed in its duty of care to its customers.

Actions taken by bet365 related to customers showing signs of harm should have been taken earlier in the customer relationship, the regulator said, ensuring that customers were contacted before they experienced harm, and not after.

Bet365 has now agreed it must contact any players who raise their deposit limit or specify a limit higher than SEK10,000 per month.

It will also follow up more closely with customers who lose more than SEK10,000 per month, and has introduced lower thresholds for contacting customers who are younger or who have previously self-excluded from gambling.

It has also removed the ‘no limit’ option for customers setting deposit limits on sign-up.

The SEK65m penalty fee issued to Hillside Sports equates to some 9% of its annual SEK724.6m GGR for the previous year.

The SEK14m penalty issued to Hillside Gaming was equal to around 20.3% of its annual SEK69m in GGR.

Betfair also under the microscope

Flutter Entertainment-owned Betfair, meanwhile, was issued a SEK4m fine after offering betting on the Under-21 Allsvenskan football league on several occasions during 2021 and 2022.

Betting on football in the Swedish league system may only be offered at the four highest league levels, according to Swedish gambling regulations.

The regulator described the violation as serious and suggested that it occurred systematically.

Betfair offered gambling on 148 matches in the under-21s league, with 224 customers placing bets on 139 of the matches, with wagers totalling SEK1.1m.

The markets were only offered on Betfair’s exchange service, and not on its fixed-odds sportsbook.

Betfair said the violation was a result of certain betting markets needing to be blocked manually in particular jurisdictions.

Betting on the league was therefore permitted on Betfair’s Swedish exchange in error.

The operator said it has since implemented several measures to prevent such violations from happening again.

The SEK4m penalty fee was the equivalent of 12.2% of Betfair’s SEK32.7m in Swedish GGR for the financial year 2021.

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