Hillside Sports, a Bet365 operator, has received a notice from Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen, as well as a punitive charge of SEK1 million (£85,000/€98,000/$116,000). It happened after giving bets on a fun game between under-18 players.
The case involved a practice match between Kronängs IF and Mariedals IK on March 28, 2020, for which Bet365 offered bets. According to Spelinspektionen’s analysis of the game, 24 of the 34 players were under 18. According to Section 2.2 of Chapter 8 of the Swedish Gambling Act, betting should not be offered on “occasions where the majority of players are under the age of 18.”
Hillside argued that offering odds on the match was acceptable since it was not a match for underage players only. It also mentioned that it took immediate measures to ensure that they will not provide odds on similar matches. They also promised to stop betting on lower-division friendlies. However, all bets on the game are void.
Bet365 argued. “The fact that the majority of the participants turned out to be under the age of 18 was an odd circumstance. And says that it could have happened in any senior league at any time and could not have been anticipated.”
It also said that if it violated the Gambling Act, a warning was the only acceptable action. Also, since the bet was only for one match and was made in error, it went on to say that the violation was extreme. And the punishment for so should be more than a warning.
However, it did point out Hillside’s action to discourage more underage betting. Also, the fact that this was a one-time occurrence was a mitigating factor.
While Spelinspektionen claimed that the Act was clear in prohibiting betting on events where the majority of candidates are underage, rather than pointing to bets on underage events.
The operator also disputed the basis for calculating the total amount of any penalty imposed. Spelinspektionen says that the penalty should focus on total stakes from Sweden. The stakes averaged SEK11.2 million for Bet365 in 2019. The operator insists that it should be measured on its Swedish revenue, which was denied.
Above all, taking into account the mitigating factors, Spelinspektionen decided to set the penalty fee at SEK1 million.
For instance, a similar warning and punishment follow a SEK10m fine levied in June 2019. It was a case against eight operators. All of whom were betting on underage games. Hillside is reviewing this ruling once again in the Court of Appeals after the first rejection.
There will be no further appointments to the board of directors, which currently consists of Fredrik Holmberg, Per Hkansson, Hkan Wall, Madelaine Tunudd, Andreas Prochazka, and Doris Högne Rydheim. Hkansson will continue to remain Chairman.