An appeal to Sweden’s Supreme Administrative Court by Zecure Gaming has been dismissed by legal authorities, upholding a previous ruling which reduced an imposed penalty.
Zecure had been fined SEK 3.5m by the Spelinspektionen – the Swedish Gambling Inspectorate – in 2019, for offering betting on an under-17 football match between Georgia and Slovakia.
As detailed by the Inspectorate, this offering was in violation of a ban on providing betting markets on fixtures involving minors where the participants are under 18 years of age.
Swedish gambling law states that allowing betting on any sports involving under-18s is illegal primarily for match manipulation purposes, with authorities placing a heavy emphasis on protecting minors from match-fixing and sports corruption.
The Inspectorate explained: “In this case football matches, where the vast majority of players were under 18 years old when the match was played, it is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure that the vast majority of participants are not under 18 years of age before betting is offered. If this is not possible, the licensee should not offer games.”
In 2020 Zecure filed an appeal with the Swedish Administrative Court, with the court concluding that the firm had violated the ban on offering sports betting on fixtures in which athletes were under 18.
The Spelinspektionen’s fine was therefore upheld, as was the warning that came with it, but the court did also reduce the penalty fee to SEK 3m.
Zecure, however, subsequently took the matter to the Swedish Court of Appeal, whcich agreed with the Inspectorate and Administrative Court’s view that a ‘warning is a sufficiently intrusive measure’.
As a result, the Court sided with the sanction fee set by the Administrative Court of SEK 3m – Zecure then lodged a third appeal with the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court, which was also rejected.
In its initial statement on the case, the Inspectorate maintained: “The fact that Zecure Gaming has offered betting on the U17 is clear in the case that Zecure Gaming has offered betting where the majority of players were under 18 when the match was played.
“Matches where the participants must be under 18 years of age are to be regarded as a serious violation. In a mitigating direction, Zecure Gaming has now taken measures to prevent betting on matches where the vast majority of participants are under 18 years of age.
“The Swedish Gaming Inspectorate does not consider that the mitigating circumstances consider the seriousness of the violation in such a way that it can be regarded as minor or excusable.”