Swedish Law Council backs inspectorate to have direct power over payment blocks

Lagrådet Sweden’s Law Council – has submitted its proposals to strengthen the safeguards of Sweden’s gambling marketplace against current and future threats.

The legal advice submitted to the Ministry of Finance has called for new measures to be introduced into Swedish law by 1 July 2023.

The proposal is focused on market integrity, in which the council seeks to ‘exclude illegal players from Sweden’s gambling marketplace as well as clamp down on the manipulation of sports results’.

The Council has advised the government to amend the 2018 Swedish Gambling Act to provide gambling inspectorate Spelinspektionen the authority to enforce a direct block on payment carriers/suppliers processing unlicensed online gambling payments.

The recommendation calls for the government to overhaul Section 26 of the Gaming Act, which requires Spelinspektionen to secure an administrative court request to issue a payment block on a payment services provider.  

The Gaming Act requires all Swedish-licensed PSPs to abide by the rules of the Payment Services Act and block all payments ‘to and from accounts that are assumed to be used for brokering bets or winnings for a gaming business without the necessary license under the Gaming Act’.

Spelinspektionen holds the authority to enforce payment blocks, but stated that it had been unable to apply the mechanism due to the requirement of ‘an administrative court, which is administratively burdensome for the authority’. 

Lagrådet has backed Spelinspektionen demands to simplify its payment blocking mechanism as an appropriate measure to protect the Swedish market’s channelling duties to licensed operators.

Further recommended measures will allow Spelinspektionen to investigate Swedish PSPs that are deemed to be noncompliant with the Payment Services Act on processing gambling payments.

In its response to the government’s review of Sweden’s re-regulated gambling marketplace, Spelinspektionen had previously called on the government to grant its authority with more direct enforcement powers to tackle unlicensed gambling activities.

The proposal’s secondary focus was on sports integrity and match-fixing, which included expanding opportunities for licensees and sports federations to process personal data in the anti-sports corruption framework.

The legal council further proposed new regulations on control routines for detecting and counteracting match-fixing, and an obligation for licensees to provide all information needed for an investigation of crime associated with certain games.

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