Spelinspektionen Warns Payment Firms Not to Work with Unlicensed Gambling Companies
After imposing hefty fines on a myriad of locally licensed online gambling operators over compliance failures of different nature, the Swedish Gambling Authority has now taken aim at payment service providers.
The regulatory body said in a statement on its official website issued on Thursday that it has sent a letter to payment companies servicing the local market, warning them that they might be “guilty of violating” Sweden’s new gambling law if they process gambling money to and from operators that are not licensed by Spelinspektionen.
Sweden’s new law took effect on January 1, 2019, reorganizing the local gambling market in a manner that made it possible for international companies to obtain licenses from the country’s regulator and operate in a regulated environment.
Spelinspektionen said in its latest statement that among other things, the purpose of the reorganization and liberalization of the local market was to “channel gambling into legal alternatives and minimize the supply of illegal gambling.”
In its letter to payment service providers, Spelinspektionen said that it wanted to emphasize the importance of not passing wagers or winnings to and from gaming companies that are not licensed in Sweden, and that any such actions can have serious consequences for Swedish gambling customers and the country’s regulated gambling industry.
The Swedish gambling regulator said in its letter to payment service companies that they are probably breaching the nation’s gambling law by handling funds to and from unauthorized gaming and betting companies.
Spelinspektionen further elaborated that such unlicensed operators are not part of Sweden’s nationwide gambling self-exclusion system, Spelpaus. The system provides gamblers with the opportunity to bar themselves from gambling for a certain period of time in cases when their gambling habits indicate problem behavior.
All locally licensed gambling companies are connected to the national self-exclusion register. However, Spelinspektionen noted in its letter that by processing gambling money to and from unlicensed companies, payment service providers facilitate the conduction of unregulated activities that cannot effectively help gamblers in cases of gambling addiction and problem gambling behavior.
The letter went on that fueling the unregulated sector creates unhealthy competition for licensed companies and costs Sweden gambling tax revenues.
Spelinspektionen’s letter also dwelt on the risks of money laundering and terrorism financing created by payment processing companies that handle transactions to and from companies without local licenses.
The Swedish gambling regulator has pointed out multiple times that it is pretty serious about its role to prevent the sector from being used by criminal organizations to move the proceeds of their illicit activities.
Earlier this year, Spelinspektionen revoked the license of one of the operators authorized to conduct gambling services on the territory of Sweden over what the regulator deemed poor anti-money laundering and know-your-customer policies. Swedish gambling group Global Gaming was the affected licensee. The company was ordered to suspend its local operations with immediate effect and has for months been unable to convince Spelinspektionen and Swedish courts to allow it to resume business.
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