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The Swedish Gambling Authority Fines Bet365 Operator, Hillside Sports

Hillside Sports, the Bet365 operator in Sweden, has been met with both a warning and a fine of KR 1 Million (Approx €98 million) for offering odds on a game that featured several players who were under the age of 18-year-olds.

The majority of Players In the Match Were Under 18

The match was between Kronangs IF and Mariedals IK, which took place in March 2020. In the match-up, 24 of the 34 players in the match were under the age of 18 - a total of 71%. The match took place in one of Sweden’s lower leagues. As such, by offering bets on the match, Hillside Sports were in direct violation of a code in the Swedish Gambling Act. 

It was the decision to allow bets on this match that led to the fine and the warning being issued. Hillside Sports and Bet365 have both disputed the claim. Their argument seemed to focus on the idea that at any given time, this could happen across any of Europe’s top football leagues, with many players playing in these divisions who are under the age of 18. The match itself was not an under-18s event.

The Bet365 operator has stated that, even if it had violated the laws, then a warning would have been sufficient given the circumstances and the unintentional nature of the incident. 

Hillside has also stood by the same arguments presented by Bet365. It has, however, agreed to review all betting on lower league matches, and has also voided all of the bets that had been placed on the offending match.

Swedish gambling act

Tough Stance in Sweden 

The comments from Bet365 seemed to fall on deaf ears. The gambling authority in Sweden claimed that the violation would set a precedent and that the company’s actions were a direct breaking of the codes agreed upon by operators within the country, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the match itself. The operator could have done more to prevent this from happening. 

The Swedish Gambling Authority did agree, however, that Hillside did recognize the fact that this company has made efforts to discourage underage gambling, and that it has appropriate measures in place to do so. The operator is not a common offender with these kinds of issues. 

The offending parties did also contest the initial penalty that was placed on them. There were some disagreements about what the fine should be based on, with Bet365 arguing it should not be based on all profit made in the country. 

Once all of these issues had been taken into account and considered, the Swedish Gambling Authority issued a figure of KR 1 million. There is no report which outlines the original figures that had been proposed for the fines.

Previous Instances 

The Swedish gambling authority, known as Spelinspektionen in the country, has a history of punishing past operators for committing similar offenses. Also, the authority wants to discuss underage gambling in the country at every opportunity. In 2019, the regulator issued warnings to eight licensed operators who had offered wagering on sports events where the majority of participants were under 18. Among the eight punished then were Hillside, as well as other big-name companies like Betfair International. Following this, there was some pushback, with Swedish online casinos asking the body to be clearer on how it defines these events. It appears as though this may be a problem that occurs from time to time in the country. 

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Liam Hoofe
Liam Hoofe
Published: 10 Apr 2021
Updated: 13 Mar 2023
Liam is a skilled writer and journalist, highly regarded for his perceptive examination of the gambling industry. He specializes in online casinos and sports betting, and his work has been published in top-tier publications. Here at GoodLuckMate, Liam covers the latest industry news and has also authored various gambling guides, offering both beginners and experienced players in-depth analyses of games and strategies.

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