Sweden spank Lottoland; minister praises Italy’s gambling ad ban
Sweden’s gambling regulator has doled out yet another financial penalty package, this time to online lottery betting outfit Lottoland.
On Wednesday, the Spelinspektionen regulatory body announced the imposition of a SEK700k (US$74k) fine against United Lottery Solutions Ltd, operator of the Lottoland.se gambling site, for offering products not covered by its Swedish gambling license.
Lottoland doesn’t operate lotteries, instead offering players the chance to bet on the outcome of traditional lottery draws offered by (usually) state-run lottery companies. Sweden allows Lottoland.se to offer wagering on international lottery draws but the site was also offering betting on the Eurojackpot lottery, which in Sweden is strictly the turf of state-owned operator Svenska Spel.
In addition, Spelinspektionen determined that Lottoland was offering online scratch cards in violation of its local license. Spelinspektionen also claimed that Lottoland hadn’t been “sufficiently clear” in ensuring its customers understood that they weren’t participating in an actual lottery drawing.
Spelinspektionen said Lottoland had since revised its offering but the duration of the period in which the site was flogging its forbidden fruit went on sufficiently long for Spelinspektionen to view the violations as “serious.” Lottoland has been warned not to sin again or face far tougher consequences.
Speaking of, Spelinspektionen was in Sweden’s Administrative Court on Wednesday to argue that Global Gaming should not be allowed to continue operating its Swedish-facing gambling site while the company appeals the revocation of its local license earlier this week.
While the appeal of the license revocation may take some time to sort out, Spelinspektionen said it expects a ruling within days on whether Global Gaming sites such as Ninja Casino can continue to operate while the appeal is pending.
SHEKARABI HAS HIGH PRAISE FOR ITALY’S BAN-HAMMER
Meanwhile, Swedish-licensed operators are viewing with some trepidation the recent travel itinerary of Ardalan Shekarabi, Sweden’s Minister for Public Administration. Shekarabi, who in April announced the formation of a commission to determine whether to impose “a total or partial ban on gambling advertising,” took a trip to Italy this week to see how the locals were handling the problem.
Italy, if you’ll recall, announced plans last year for a near-total ban on gambling advertising and sponsorships, the details of which local gambling and telecom operators are still trying to understand. Since then, numerous European markets have either begun or are considering the imposition of similar restrictions.
After consulting with his Italian counterparts, Shekarabi tweeted that they had “stood up” to criticism of their “total” gambling ad ban. Shekarabi added that he had “an interesting view of their work and I bring energy home with me to work to limit gambling advertising in Sweden.”
So… it’s probably not ideal timing that the Kindred Group’s flagship Unibet brand just announced a two-year, SEK25m ($2.64m) deal to become the main sponsor of Hockeyallsvenskan (All Swedish Hockey Championship). The deal, which takes effect July 1, follows Unibet’s even more expensive six-year sponsorship of Swedish Elite Football that will start in 2020.
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