The Swedish gambling authority, Spelinspektionen, has revealed it has begun a consultation period regarding a range of betting restrictions that aim to benefit the integrity of both sports and betting within the country.

If passed, the restrictions would prohibit betting on red or yellow cards, penalty throws, penalties, penalty kicks, expulsions, warnings, disqualifications or similar, thus meaning that operators would no longer be able to offer betting markets on a ‘rule violation or loss in parts.’ 

Khalid Ali, CEO of International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), commented: “IBIA will be reviewing the proposal closely with its members and of course we are keen to work with any regulatory authority on practical and necessary proposals to address betting related match-fixing. However, from the data we have, it is difficult to see that the proposal to prohibit certain markets is justified or will be effective.

“There is a range of evidence that the markets proposed to be prohibited are not the markets that corrupters primarily focus on as liquidly levels are too low and illicit activity more easily identified. Furthermore, corrupters often seek to place bets outside of the territory where the event is corrupted, notably on the unregulated market in Asia, making Swedish market restrictions ineffective.

“There is a danger that this will primarily serve to deprive innocent Swedish consumers from accessing well-regulated products and which in turn will place strain on the attractiveness of the market and the level of channeling to Swedish operators, which was the foundation of the market licensing and reform.”

The announcement follows on from the October 2019 news that saw Patrik Hofbauer, president and CEO of sports betting operator Svenska Spel, issue his support to the Swedish government proposals to further crack down on selected sports betting markets as suggested by the Swedish Government.

Hofbauer’s support came off the back of a meeting held between Sweden’s social security minister Ardalan Shekarabi, the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) and the Swedish Ice Hockey Association which discussed the potential for manipulation across certain betting markets and resulted in the regulator calling for a ban on bets that can be influenced by individual players, including yellow cards, corners and dismissals.

At the time, Svenska Spel CEO stated: “It is common sense not to offer this kind of market. Match fixing is a problem for the sports and gaming industry already as it is and there is no reason for the gaming companies to make it easy for the match fixers. This type of event is very easy to manipulate, because they do not depend on the entire team effort, but can be controlled by a single player.

“As a fresh example of this, we have the all-Swedish match between Kalmar and Elfsborg earlier this year, where a player is suspected of having drawn on a yellow card while his relatives bet that this would happen.

“Svenska Spel has always been behind the sport on this issue. It is a matter of course for us to work together against cheating and crime. Our customers should be able to feel confident that the matches they have played on are free from manipulation.

“The message from the minister shows that our politicians and legislators are also serious about match fixing. If a ban is now proposed and introduced, it will be a historic victory for the sport and the gaming companies that want to offer games on the terms of the sport. If you want the Swedish gaming market to be healthy and secure, then you welcome this message.”