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Compliance Updates

Anger in the Industry After the Swedish Gambling Authority’s Acquittal of Infiniza

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Last Friday, Di wrote about how the Swedish Gambling Authority closed an investigation into the Malta-based casino operator Infiniza, whose online casino, according to the authority’s assessment, is not aimed at Swedes. This is after the company changed the payment operator, i.e. who manages the transfer of gambling money from bank accounts to the casino, and the criteria that determine whether someone directs gambling at Swedes are not considered fulfilled.

Actions Did The Trick For Infiniza

“In light of the measures Infiniza Limited has taken regarding the company’s marketing as well as the payment options and/or payment service providers that were the subject of the current supervisory case, the Swedish Gambling Inspectorate assesses that the company, based on what emerged in the case, ceased to provide gambling aimed at the Swedish market without necessary license”

From the Gambling Authority’s decision that Infiniza review ceases, 21/2 2024.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, general secretary of the licensed gambling operators’ association The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (Bos), is upset.

“It is offensive, and endangers the entire safety and security of the Swedish gambling license system,” he told Di about the Spelinspektionen’s decision, which he read about “with dismay” in Di.

According to Gustaf Hoffstedt, who refers to web traffic statistics that Di has taken part in, Infiniza is one of Sweden’s largest players in online casinos.

“They are estimated to have a significant operation in Sweden, in fact a large part of it is intended to receive Swedish consumers. It is of course extremely profitable, as they do not pay any Swedish gambling tax.”

The Swedish Gambling Authority’s decision has been made after Infiniza’s casinos changed their payment provider to one based in Lithuania. In the past, the Swedish-registered payment services Finshark and Zimpler reviewed by Di have been used.

“That’s exactly how it goes: if someone shines a spotlight on the fact that payment intermediaries ‘blue’ are not okay, payment intermediaries become ‘red’, then ‘green’, then ‘purple’ – and it goes on forever.”

Gustaf Hoffstedt calls for stricter legislation similar to that in the Netherlands, where it is forbidden to even accept domestic players – whereby more people play with the licensed players.

“The basic problem is the scope of the Swedish law, that is to say that unlicensed gambling companies are not explicitly prohibited from passively accepting Swedish players, provided that the company does not target them,” he says.

For several years, BOS has addressed the problem to both governments, investigators and the Gambling Authority and called for the Netherlands’ example to be followed, with the criminalization of passively accepting and enabling Swedish players.

However, the organization has cut stone in stone, and has not received a hearing for its proposal.

“The government does not want this. It claims that the channelization (the percentage of licensed gamblers, Di’s note) is good in Sweden, which unfortunately is not true, that the gambling market is stable, which is also not true, and that this is not a path that Sweden should follow.”

Marcus Aronsson, investigator at Spelinspektionen, told Di that the decision from last Friday only concerns Infiniza’s use of Zimpler, and that the just concluded case was already started in 2021.

He cannot comment on whether the payment company or companies used thereon means that Infiniza can be considered to target Swedes, nor whether a new review of the operator has been initiated after the Zimpler case.

In the decision, however, it is explicitly mentioned that the Swedish Gambling Authority can initiate a new supervisory case if Infiniza can again be considered to target the Swedish market without the necessary license.

Compliance Updates

IOC and UEFA host joint betting integrity workshop

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© IOC/Greg Martin
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Sports betting entities and international federations joined UEFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 11 April for a full-day workshop focused on how sport and the sports betting industry can work together to fight match-fixing. Co-organised by the IOC and UEFA, and held at Olympic House in Lausanne, the workshop explored opportunities for cross-sector collaboration with a focus on integrity exchange in support of the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the UEFA Euro 2024.

The workshop kicked off with presentations by the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC) and UEFA’s Anti-Match-Fixing Unit, exploring each team’s strategy for combatting match-fixing, engaging with the sports betting industry, and detecting and investigating potentially fraudulent betting activity.

UEFA promotes integrity through dedicated education, prevention, and awareness raising programmes and by detecting, investigating, and sanctioning match-fixing. Collaboration with stakeholders within football, particularly the network of integrity officers who work for UEFA’s 55 member associations, as well as the wider sports community is vital to this work.

UEFA upholds the integrity of all UEFA competitions via tailored, competition-specific integrity measures. Building on the integrity success of previous UEFA competitions, UEFA’s approach for EURO 2024 will feature close collaboration with host and participating nation stakeholders, public authorities, and sports betting entities as well as real-time betting market monitoring. Our secure UEFA integrity website will allow players, referees, officials, and members of the public to report suspected cases of match-fixing confidentially and anonymously. During the workshop, UEFA shared its competition risk assessment and mitigation strategy and explained the escalation, triage, and assessment approach for any potential integrity concerns.

“Sport alone cannot eradicate match-fixing. We must work together – raising awareness, sharing information, ensuring robust prevention and detection systems are in place – to protect sport and athletes. During the UEFA EURO 2024, our Germany-based staff (supported by the entire Anti-Match-Fixing Unit based in Nyon) will work hand-in-hand with betting integrity entities, betting operators and regulators, public authorities, and the national associations.” Vincent Ven, Head of Anti-Match-Fixing at UEFA

“The main objective is to ensure robust 24/7 monitoring of the competition in compliment to our dedicated prevention and education programme for all participating athletes and officials. UEFA’s multi-stakeholder Anti-Match-Fixing Assessment Group will manage pre and in-competition monitoring, ensuring that UEFA can immediately review and address any potential integrity threats to the tournament.”, Ven added.

“Collaboration is essential. During the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, we will work together with a series of betting operators, associations and major betting regulatory authorities to exchange relevant information about irregular betting patterns or suspicious betting activities detected that might imply competition manipulation.” Friedrich Martens, Head of the OM Unit PMC

Panel discussions with several sport governing bodies and betting integrity entities provided insight into best practices, trends, and success stories from each sector’s perspective, whilst two betting operators took the floor to share examples of recent fruitful cooperation with UEFA and the IOC on prevention and investigations.

The afternoon featured frank discussion regarding how to enhance cooperation between sport and sports betting entities, recent trends in sports betting and their potential impact on sport integrity, and how to improve information sharing in support of match-fixing detection and investigation.

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VGCCC Introduces New Rules for Wagering Account Statements

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has introduced new standards for how activity statements should be presented to wagering account holders. The new standards require providers to use plain English and avoid unnecessary vocabulary. The use of colours is limited to black and red to represent losses.

The VGCCC took the measure after finding inconsistencies in the way information was displayed on sample activity statements across different providers. Account holders must be able to see how much of their own money they have lost, with free and bonus bets excluded from the net loss figures. Net wins must be shown with stakes deducted. The gambling harm taglines that appear at the end of wagering ads must be displayed on each statement.

The new standards came into force on April 1. Failure to comply could result in a penalty of 60 penalty units, equivalent to AU$11,538.60 for each non-compliant activity statement issued.

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM said: “The days of inconsistent player activity statements are over. Wagering account holders will be better informed about their spending – and therefore better equipped to make informed decisions about their gambling – thanks to the clarity and fairness these changes bring.”

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Compliance Updates

UK Gambling Commission Unveils a New Three-year Corporate Strategy

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has launched its new Corporate Strategy for 2024 to 2027.

Titled “Gambling Regulation in a Digital Age,” the strategy underlines the Commission’s commitment to deliver on the decisions set out in the Government’s White Paper High Stakes – Gambling reform for the digital age.

In addition to continuing to deliver the core regulatory work, over the next three years, the Commission will make a series of commitments under the following areas of strategic focus:

  • using data and analytics to make gambling regulation more effective
  • enhancing the core operational functions
  • setting clear evidence-based requirements for licensees
  • being proactive and addressing issues at the earliest opportunity
  • regulating a successful National Lottery.

The strategy prioritises key cross-cutting enablers, including a review of the people plan, approach to stakeholder engagement and ensuring the Commission has the right resources to regulate effectively.

Commission Chair Marcus Boyle said: “Our new three-year strategy ‘Gambling regulation in a digital age’ sets out how we will deliver the reforms set out in the Government’s gambling white paper, and successfully regulate the National Lottery under a new licensee.

“We are also setting out an ambitious programme to enhance the effectiveness of our regulation. A new data innovation hub will foster the smarter use of data. We will increase the transparency of our work to raise standards in the gambling industry, and we will be creative in disrupting those who seek to operate illegally.

“I want a fair, safe, and crime-free gambling market where consumers and the interests of the wider public are protected. This strategy will improve gambling regulation and move us closer to that vision.”

Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said: “I am proud of how far the Commission has come in the last few years. We’ve tackled some of the critical issues facing operators and consumers, but the next cycle will involve delivering on some of the key decisions that we and Government have taken.

“Our objective is to be the authoritative voice on evidence and data, to tackle misinformation, delve into the facts, and help bring about improved outcomes for the public. Our Gambling Survey for Great Britain is one example of how we aim to embrace new data and intelligence.

“It is vital we maintain high standards for gambling consumers, working with industry to resolve issues at the earliest opportunity. We will continue to work across borders to tackle common issues like illegal gambling, and to learn and share regulatory best practice.”

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