Sweden gambling regulator given new payment blocking powers
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The Swedish legislature the Riksdag has granted the country’s gambling regulator Spelinspektionen a suite of new powers, including the new rules concerning the body’s capability to block payments from unlicensed operations.
Sweden’s new gambling rules – which involved amending the country’s Gaming Act – are set to come into force from 1 July this year. From this date, Spelinspektionen will be permitted to purchase gambling services under a hidden identity in order to monitor the activities of gaming companies active in the regulated market.
Under the new law, the regulator will also have authorisation to store and pass on personal data in order to prevent match-fixing. Gambling business will be further required to disclose information to the police regarding crimes connected with the gaming sector.
Payment blocking to involve service provider
The original Gaming Act authorised the regulator to block electronic transactions if the body suspected that the payments were being made towards gambling services by an unlicensed operation.
However, Spelinspektionen has as of yet never taken advantage of these payment blocking powers, arguing that “certain practical difficulties” make implementing the current regulation difficult. As such the previous blocking powers have been repealed.
These powers have been replaced with new ones that are to be implemented in a different way. The government – which emphasised that payment blocking capabilities are important for channelisation purposes – said that there is a need to involve payment service providers in the work of understanding “how stakes and winnings are conveyed to and from the gambling operators identified by the authority”.
The regulator therefore is to be given the authority to create new regulations concerning the obligations that payment providers have to provide necessary information for blocking the unlawful payments.
The government said that in the absence of legal support that enables undercover surveillance of gambling businesses the regulator has “limited” opportunities to online gaming. In this context it considered the granting of this new power to be a proportionate rule.
Under the new law, Spelinspektionen will be permitted to purchase gambling services online under a hidden identity to make sure that operators are in compliance with the Gaming Act. The operator is to be notified about the test purchase as soon as possible.
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