GiG Suspends Sports Betting in Sweden after SEK3.5 Million Fine
Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) has moved to suspend its sportsbook on its in-house brands Rizk and Guts in Sweden after the company was slapped a SEK3.5 million (more than $370,000) fine by the Swedish Gambling Authority for providing local gambling customers with the chance to bet on sporting events that featured a majority of players aged under 18.
GiG said in a statement issued earlier today that it has ceased its sports betting operations in Sweden and would not resume those until it receives clarification from Spelinspektionen with respect to the interpretation of some elements of the new Swedish gambling rules.
Sweden reorganized its gambling market this year, opening the local gaming and betting space to international operators interested to provide their products in a regulated environment.
GiG has been the latest locally licensed company to have expressed its discontent with the country’s new rules, arguing that they are “too open for interpretation” which could ultimately result in a licensee unintentionally breaching them.
The online gambling group said today that only its Swedish sportsbook operations were affected by its decision and that it plans to resume conducting sports betting activities in Sweden as soon as it receives the requested clarification from the local Gambling Authority.
GiG originally introduced its sports betting product last year. Its in-house brands Rizk and Guts were the first to go live with it in a number of markets.
An Impossible Position
Commenting on their decision, GiG CEO Robin Reed said today that they have found themselves “in an impossible position due to the lack of clarity in the Swedish gambling regulation.” The executive went on to say that they have to protect the company and its shareholders from any potential regulatory troubles resulting from “such vagueries.”
According to Mr. Reed, Sweden’s current gambling rules are too open for interpretation, “leaving uncertainty whether an operator is in fact compliant or not.”
GiG’s top official also said that they are encouraging Spelinspektionen to amend the current rules in a manner that would reduce the lack of clarity and leave no room for misinterpretation and to suspend temporarily all licensed sportsbook in the recently reorganized market until the necessary clarification is provided.
GiG said that it would honor all bets received but not settled and that it expects an immaterial impact from its decision to shut temporarily it sports betting operations in Sweden.
As mentioned earlier, the company was one of eight licensed online gambling operators that were fined by the Swedish Gambling Authority earlier this month for accepting bets on sports events featured a majority of players aged under 18. GiG was fined SEK3.5 million for its violations.
The company said in today’s statement that it plans to appeal the sanction by the Swedish regulator and that it does not agree with Spelinspektionen’s assessment and conclusion. The Stars Group, bet365, and GVC Holdings’ bwin brand were too part of the batch of operators that were slapped hefty fines by the regulatory body.
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