Payment Processors in Sweden to Serve as Illegal Gambling Police
Although Sweden’s gaming regulator once said it wouldn’t take a heavy-handed approach to unlicensed iGaming operators, that is now changing. Next year, online payment processors are going to help police the online gaming space.
Sweden is making changes to its Gambling Act legislation from 2018 that it says will help clean up the regulated space and provide better protections. It wants to introduce regulations that require payment service providers to be more proactive in monitoring their activity.
Once the law comes into effect next summer, payment providers will have to report payments that Swedes make to unlicensed iGaming platforms. This was previously impossible due to language in data protection laws, but the legislative reform looks to override those controls.
Private Payments Police
The reform repeals existing laws that prohibit payment providers from releasing private information. Going forward, those providers will have to inform the government of any payments sent to unlicensed online gaming operators.
The updated laws don’t necessarily define the outcome; the providers only report questionable payments. It will be up to Spelinspektionen, the country’s gaming regulator, and government authorities to take any necessary action.
This past summer, Swedish lawmakers rejected a plan that would have allowed Spelinspektionen to automatically block any unlicensed online gaming platform. At the same time, though, the regulator still had the authority to take legal action against any violators.
The new reform could accomplish the same end result, but through different methods. The bill includes language that allows Spelinspektionen to establish fake gaming accounts to gamble or place sports bets on unlicensed sites. This will allow it to irrefutably determine whether the platform is accessible from within Sweden.
The government also gave Spelinspektionen a new task. It will need to survey the reasons why people choose to exclude themselves from gambling. Sweden maintains a national online self-exclusion platform, spelpaus.se, where consumers can sign up if they want to be blocked from gambling.
The platform serves as a register, and the regulated gaming industry must track its activity. Spelinspektionen must also review the percentage of those suspended who choose to play with gambling companies without a Swedish license.
The possibility to disconnect from gambling via spelpaus.se is an important measure to counter gambling abuse and protect consumers. However, Swedish authorities believe there’s a lack of sufficient knowledge about why people withdraw from gambling. In addition, they don’t have data on the percentage of those who self-exclude play on regulated sites.
The State Treasury believes this is a problem, as it makes it more difficult to analyze revenue adequately. As such, the Minister of Financial Markets, Niklas Wykman, set in motion a legislative update requiring Spelinspektionen to collect more data.
Wykman also wants to understand the scope of the spelpaus.se platform better. He wants to know if it should include additional options, such as longer suspensions or blocks on individual forms of gambling, to offer better protection to consumers.
Spelinspektionen has to deliver its findings and recommendations by the end of next October.
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