Spelinspektionen, the Swedish gambling regulator, is going to implement a ban on betting on sporting violations, including yellow and red cards, free kicks and penalties in football from 1 January 2021.
The regulator will also ban betting on all but the top four divisions of football in Sweden (Allsvenskan, Superettan, Division 1 Norra and Södra) and the six regional Division 2 leagues as well as on under-21 internationals. Betting on the individual performance of players aged under 18 will also be banned in all sports played in Sweden.
“Football is a high-risk sport when it comes to match-fixing and there are special risks with low divisions. Surveillance is poorer and practitioners do not make money from their sport. The Swedish Gambling Authority has therefore chosen to place special emphasis on football and has taken into account views received from the consultative bodies,” Spelinspektionen said.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of online gaming operators’ association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), criticised the move as political, claiming it was designed to appease the National Athletics Association, Swedish Football Association and politicians rather than enforce regulatory good sense.
He said: “Spelinspektionen claims to have found a well-balanced point between different interests but there is no balanced point in this matter. Either you believe restrictions for licensed companies lead to reduced match-fixing [or not].
“In that case, I wonder why Spelinspektionen can be content with these relatively peripheral restrictions. In that case, the only responsibility would be to impose restrictions on almost everything if one is so convinced that they have a positive effect.
“The Swedish Gambling Authority is often blamed for a lot of things when in fact it is the government that is to be held accountable.
“This case is unique however in that it is the SGA itself that has chosen to impose the restrictions and this without any analysis of their effect. This, of course, damages SGA’s reputation.”