Svenska Spel Responds to Spelinspektionen’s Match-fixing Proposals

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Svenska Spel has hit out at Spelinspektionen’s (Swedish Gambling Authority) proposed measures to combat match-fixing in the country, arguing that the ban on betting on rule violations still leaves plenty of scope for manipulation.

Last month, Spelinspektionen put forward an amendment to Sweden’s gaming rules that would see operators prohibited from offering odds on rule violations, such as yellow cards in football or faults in tennis.

At the time, the regulator said the measure would help efforts to tackle match-fixing by removing any potential reward for athletes that commit certain acts for match-fixing purposes.

“Much sharper action is needed if we are to win the fight against the match fixes; one of these is to ban all easily manipulated gaming objects. The proposal provides apparent protection, but will in practice have a very limited effect. We therefore propose a tightening of the regulations and hope that Spelinspektionen will take our views into consideration,” Patrik Hofbauer, Chief executive of Svenska Spel, said.

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“Games on corners and throw-ins are at least as easy to manipulate, so the logic of this boundary is difficult to see. Instead, we think that [betting on] all easily manipulated game events should be banned,” Hofbauer added.

Hofbauer also raised concerns that the proposed bans would only apply to sports events taking place in Sweden, whereas games and competitions being played elsewhere would not be covered by the measures.

As such, Hofbauer and Svenska Spel put forward alternative measures for the regulator to consider. First, the operator said that the ban should apply to all events in a game or competitions that can be easily manipulated.

The operator said the ban should extend to all gambling businesses that hold a licence in Sweden, rather than sports events taking place in the country. Svenska Spel also said bookmakers should be limited to the events they can offer betting on, with the operator saying that the higher the level of the sport or event in question, the harder it is to manipulate the results.

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In addition, Svenska Spel said licensed operators should be required to report all suspicious events to the regulator immediately, rather than just once per year as proposed by Spelinspektionen.

Spelinspektionen’s proposals also attracted criticism from Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), Sweden’s trade association for online gambling, which said that by bringing bets on these events out of the regulated market, the authorities would lose the ability to monitor suspicious betting on events and to effectively police match-fixing.

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