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Compliance Updates

Swedish Gambling Market Commission Proposes More Restrictions on iGaming

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Swedish Gambling Market Commission Proposes More Restrictions on iGaming
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The Swedish Gambling Market Commission (Spelmarknadsutredningen) has delivered a report on the country’s igaming regulations. Led by special investigator and former MP, Anna-Lena Sörenson, the report has recommended several stricter controls on the market including a proposal that the national regulator Spelinspektionen should implement a risk classification for gambling products.

The report suggests that games classified as the highest risk should be banned from advertising between 6 am and 9 pm. It also proposes that Sweden should make permanent the SEK5000 deposit limit that has been temporarily imposed for online casino games during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other proposals include the introduction of a law laying out reporting requirements for operators and a relaxation of bonus restrictions for gaming operators that generate funds for charity, such as lotteries, to enable them to better compete against private operators. It also suggests greater controls on unlicensed gaming, which is now subject to a separate enquiry.

The report rejected proposals for statutory levels on horseracing and other sports betting. It also concluded that the Gambling Act was not the correct tool to include controls on loot boxes in video games, which it said should be studied at the European Union level.

“This has been a complex assignment that has touched on a large number of different issues linked to gaming regulation, which in some cases have required difficult trade-offs. I believe that the proposals we come up with today can both contribute to strengthening consumer protection and make regulation more appropriate,” Sörenson said.

“Spelmarknadsutredningen’s report will form an important basis for the Government’s forthcoming measures,” Ardalan Shekarabi, Minister for Social Security, said.

However, the operator association Branscheforenigen för Onlienspel (BOS) expressed alarm at the report’s recommendations.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary-general of BOS, said: “Sweden has invested in a licensing system with 102 operators that offer a high level of consumer protection.

“They pay around SEK4bn annually in gaming tax, invest in workplaces and staff, sponsor Swedish sports and contribute to Swedish technology know-how.

“Banning licensed gaming companies from marketing their services to Swedish consumers while leaving unlicensed companies free to offer their services to Swedish consumers is a bad proposal.

“This only leads to reduced consumer protection and to erode the Swedish gaming market.”

Compliance Updates

Spillemyndigheden Calls Attention to FATF’s Updated Lists of High-risk Jurisdictions

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The Danish Gambling Authority has called attention to FATF’s (Financial Action Task Force) updated lists of high-risk jurisdictions: the Grey List (jurisdictions under increased monitoring) and Black List (call for actions). Among other things, gambling operators must include FATF’s lists of high-risk jurisdictions when assessing players’ risk.

Jurisdictions listed on the Grey List are Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Croatia, DR Congo, Haiti, Kenya, Mali, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yemen.

Jurisdictions listed on the Black List are the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Myanmar.

Gambling operators are required to conduct enhanced customer due diligence (EDD) pursuant to section 17(1) of the Danish AML Act, if a player is assessed to impose a higher risk of the gambling operator being misused for money laundering or terrorist financing.

Gambling operators shall conduct this risk assessment based on Annex 3 to the AML Act (high-risk factors) which includes the FATF high-risk country lists (the so called black list and grey list).

It is not required that gambling operators perform EDD if a country is listed on the FATF’s list. EDD are only a requirement for players from jurisdictions listed in the EU Regulation of High Risk Third Country list pursuant to 17(2) of the AML Act.

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Compliance Updates

Finland: EGBA Welcomes Essential Step Towards Meaningful Gambling Reform

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On July 3, Finland’s Ministry of the Interior published draft legislation outlining the country’s new gambling framework. The draft law is now open for consultation until August 18, 2024. Currently, Finland is the last EU country with a comprehensive monopoly on online gambling. The proposal aims to introduce competition by licensing various online gambling and betting verticals.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, said: “The publication of the draft legislation is a welcome and essential step towards meaningful gambling reform in Finland. This signals the end of comprehensive online gambling monopolies in the EU, as Finland is the last member state that still has a monopoly for online gambling. We look forward to reviewing the draft legislation over the coming weeks and engaging in continued dialogue with the Finnish Government and local stakeholders as the regulatory discussions progress.”

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Compliance Updates

Kansspelautoriteit to Improve Dutch Gaming Halls’ Duty of Care

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Kansspelautoriteit, the Dutch gaming authority, has stated that it will utilise investigative findings to improve the duty of care at gaming halls across the Netherlands.

Throughout December 2023 and January 2024, KSA inspectors visited 20 gaming facilities across the country to investigate how duty of care was being implemented.

Sharing its findings, the gaming authority noted that the majority of gaming halls paid attention to duty of care, but added that its implementation could be improved upon in certain areas.

The KSA stated that gaming halls have taken steps to meet the duty of care requirements in the KOA Act, including preventing and limiting gambling addiction as much as possible, but the “practice is not always sufficiently in line with the expressed good intentions and what is included in the policy”.

“It is striking that the personal circumstances and playing behaviour of regular players are (more or less) known. But there is sometimes a lack of actually addressing players, registering signals and interventions and intervening in the arcades examined,” said the authority.

Long playing times were regarded by all gaming halls as a “worrying signal”, but monitoring methods were not always elaborated and not a single venue investigated applied a maximum playing time, which the KSA stated was “particularly important at arcades that are open 24 hours, because there is no natural “stopping moment” for players”.

The KSA revealed that playing on multiple machines and reserving slot machines was allowed at all gaming halls visited, which while not prohibited, can be a factor in excessive gaming behaviour.

Other excessive gaming behaviour – visiting for a long time and/or with great regularity and a high number of debit card transactions per visit – was not sufficiently monitored by several venues.

Letters were sent by the KSA to the gaming halls following inspections, citing specific improvement points for each location.

The authority concluded: “Guidance will follow later this year for all permit holders, containing an elaboration of the points identified and more specific attention to the duty of care of arcades. The KSA will then monitor compliance with this more strictly.”

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