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Swedish Court Reduced Penalties for Genesis and Aspire
Sometimes, gambling regulators get seduced by their own power, so they make rookie mistakes. It seems that Spelinspektionen joined this notorious club. In 2019, the regulator fined Aspire Global’s AG Communications and Genesis Global for not connecting to the self-exclusion tool Spelpaus. The authority did some math and issued fines, but the companies took things to court. They filed an appeal, and as it turns out, Spelinspektionen used the revenue in the wrong way, so the fines were cut in half! Instead of paying SEK 4 million and SEK 3 million, Genesis and Aspire need to pay 1 million each. Keep reading to find out more.
Manual Checks vs. Spelpaus
In 2019, consumers warned Spelinspektionen that Aspire Global and Genesis Global weren’t using Spelpaus for self-exclusion. All Swedish operators must be connected to the tool, but those two decided to perform manual checks instead. In March 2019, the regulator concluded Genesis hadn’t been connected to the tool for 33 days, resulting in a SEK 4 million fine (€382,000). Genesis Global is an incredibly popular operator with a portfolio that includes Sloty, Play.com, and Casino Joy.
Aspire’s AG Communications hadn’t been connected to the Spelpaus for 9 days. Aspire, which operates Karamba, was handed a SEK 3 million penalty. The companies decided to take things to court and fight the decision.
Spelinspektionen Miscalculated the Fine
As is always the case in Sweden, the penalties were calculated based on two factors: the seriousness of the offense and the annual revenue. According to the court, Spelinspektionen made some mistakes in the calculating process, and the fine was cut in half. The verdict mentions that the regulator wrongly calculated the annual turnover. Yikes!
The Court of Appeal in Linköping explained both companies failed to implement safe and reliable self-exclusion practices. Despite that, the fines were simply too big for the crimes.
Yet, Genesis Global and Aspire Global weren’t happy with the decision. They took Spelinspektionen back to court. This time, it was the Court of Appeal in Jönköping. The operators insisted that there was no serious breach and no serious consequences for customers so they should get away with warnings. However, Spelinspektionen claimed customers were still able to use the platform. This is incredibly bad because they were supposed to be self-excluded.
The Court of Appeal in Jönköping took the same stance as the Court in Linköping. Essentially, the court stated the companies failed to prevent customers from accessing its services when asked to do so. Such behavior is not in line with current Swedish gambling regulations. The court didn’t miss the opportunity to provide more details about the miscalculations. Spelinspektionen calculated fines based on the revenue in January and February 2019, instead of the revenue in the previous year. The regulator failed to provide any evidence that supports they did the math right. In the end, the fines were reduced to SEK 1 million per company. This decision can also be taken back to court - Swedish Supreme Court.
Quite a Week for Spelinspektionen
Earlier that week, Spelinspektionen experienced another defeat in court, losing a case against Kindred. The regulator claimed the company is not respecting the deposit limits set for online casinos. However, it turns out to be a loophole in the law, something that Kindred can’t be responsible for.