European Gaming Lawyer magazine EGL_Spring2017_opt - Page 22

Swedish gambling license violates the Gambling Act , regulations or conditions issued by virtue of the Act , a sanction charge shall be imposed in the first instance . This can vary between SEK 5,000 and SEK 50 million . The sanction charge may not exceed ten per cent of the company ’ s turnover in Sweden .
It is furthermore proposed that internet service providers be required to display a warning message when a visitor attempts to play on illegal sites . The message shall inform the visitor that the game provider does not have a license in Sweden and is not under Swedish supervision .
The Inquiry does not propose the blocking of electronic communication to sites offering games that are not legal in Sweden . However , it is proposed that the blocking of payment transactions between illegal gambling companies and players should be considered . For reasons of competition , this should be introduced simultaneously by all concerned parties or payment transfer providers . The provision of payment transfers to and from unlicensed operators will be criminalized with a range of punishment from fines or imprisonment of at most six months .
A new crime classification will be introduced , the offence of cheating at gambling ( match-fixing and other types of manipulation of the outcome of a game ). The offence shall be able to be imposed with a prison sentence of at most two years . If the offence has been committed intentionally and has been conducted systematically or on a major scale or has otherwise been of a particularly dangerous nature , it is classed as gross , resulting in imprisonment of at least six months and at most six years .
Apart from these sanctions the Inquiry introduces a number of additional burdens on operators : most notable are marketing restrictions and a wide arsenal of player responsibility provisions to be complied with .
Analysis The Inquiry is rather brash when it comes to the stated financial purpose of the proposed bill and highlights that crossborder gambling companies represent a market share of approximately 23 per cent and their market share is increasing and that the fifteen online gambling companies publicly listed in Sweden represent a market value of SEK 69 billion ( SEK 11 billion in 2011 ). The Inquiry wants to bring some of these profits to the state-purse :
“ This reflects the large profits made by these companies and the market ’ s even greater expectations . Few online companies have as great profit margins as the online gambling companies . In 2016 , the net turnover of the online gambling companies un-regulated in Sweden was SEK 5.1 billion . The motive of central government to re-regulate the gambling market is to gain control over this part of the market through regulating and licensing . This involves issues regarding taxes , gambling responsibility and consumer protection .”
To ensure that a large share of these revenues end up in the state purse the Inquiry uses war rhetoric to underline the purpose of the proposed legislation :
“ The proposed re-regulation mobilizes a large part of central government ’ s combined arsenal of legal , economic and administrative measures in order to take control of the gambling market and of conditions in which the old Act has become increasingly unmodern .”
The Act is a product of political pressure to quickly produce new legislation for the purpose of transferring private profits to the state purse . This has inflated the pressure on the Inquiry . In volume the Report amounts to one of the biggest bureaucratization of a market in modern time . One could question whether this bulk of new legislation really reflects the demands of the market .
In the case of Framework laws such as the new Gambling Act , constitutional requirements of predictability and legality is neglected when timing is vital for political gains . This reflects the Governments fear of losing timing . After three dropped balls the market ’ s confidence in the politicians is at an all-time-low . If the political momentum is lost the bill is likely to fall .
The result of the Framework law might well be a discrepancy between what is considered politically necessary and , on the other hand , what is feasible in terms of available resources . The proposed vast criminalization and sanction arsenal would require that huge new resources are transferred to police , prosecutors and the courts . And without proper enforcement against unlicensed operators the licensing regime amounts to a high risk project for the licensees . Moreover , large new burdens regarding player responsibility , marketing and administrative liabilities are laid on the licensee . But the greatest risk for the operators come with the chosen legislative vehicle .
A Framework Law has to be filled out and completed through regulations by the government and the administrative authorities such as the new Gaming board ( Spelmyndigheten ), or by court practice . In the Act we find a number of indeterminate and vague objectives to be achieved , and the general principles to be respected in the enforcement of the law . These vague provisions must be filled with the standards of more tangible impact if they are to be meaningful . When you leave this wide discretion to the courts and authorities it creates legal uncertainty and sharply divergent court practice . The father of the Report , Håkan Hallsted , label this flexibility .
A prevailing fear is that the state controlled companies will use the time lapse between the publication of the Inquiry ’ s proposal and its coming into force to abuse their dominant position on the market . ATG is already trying to
22 | European Gaming Lawyer | Spring Issue | 2017
Swedish gambling license violates the Gambling Act, regulations or conditions issued by virtue of the Act, a sanction charge shall be imposed in the fi rst instance. Th is can vary between SEK 5,000 and SEK 50 million. Th e sanction charge may not exceed ten per cent of the company’s turnover in Sweden. It is furthermore proposed that internet service providers be required to display a warning message when a visitor attempts to play on illegal sites. Th e message shall inform the visitor that the game provider does not have a license in Sweden and is not under Swedish supervision. Th e Inquiry does not propose the blocking of electronic communication to sites off ering games that are not legal in Sweden. However, it is proposed that the blocking of payment transactions between illegal gambling companies and players should be considered. For reasons of competition, this should be introduced simultaneously by all concerned parties or payment transfer providers. Th e provision of payment transfers to and from unlicensed operators will be criminalized with a range of punishment from fi nes or imprisonment of at most six months. A new crime classifi cation will be introduced, the off ence of cheating at gambling (match-fi xing and other types of manipulation of the outcome of a game). Th e off ence shall be able to be imposed with a prison sentence of at most two years. If the off ence has been committed intentionally and has been conducted systematically or on a major scale or has otherwise been of a particularly dangerous nature, it is classed as gross, resulting in imprisonment of at least six months and at most six years. Apart from these sanctions the Inquiry introduces a number of additional burdens on operators: most notable are marketing restrictions and a wide arsenal of player responsibility provisions to be complied with. 22 | European Gaming Lawyer | Spring Issue | 2017 Analysis Th e Inquiry is rather brash when it comes to the stated fi nancial purpose of the proposed bill and highlights that cross- border gambling companies represent a market share of approximately 23 per cent and their market share is increasing and that the fi ft een online gambling companies publicly listed in Sweden represent a market value of SEK 69 billion (SEK 11 billion in 2011). Th e Inquiry wants to bring some of these profi ts to the state-purse: “Th is refl ects the large profi ts made by these companies and the market’s even greater expectations. Few online companies have as great profi t margins as the online gambling companies. In 2016, the net turnover of the online gambling companies un-regulated in Sweden was SEK 5.1 billion. Th e motive of central government to re-regulate the gambling market is to gain control over this part of the market through regulating and licensing. Th is involves issues regarding taxes, gambling responsibility and consumer protection.” To ensure that a large share of these revenues end up in the state purse the Inquiry uses war rhetoric to underline the purpose of the proposed legislation: “Th e proposed re-regulation mobilizes a large part of central government’s combined arsenal of legal, economic and administrative measures in order to take control of the gambling market and of conditions in which the old Act has become increasingly unmodern.” Th e Act is a product of political pressure to quickly produce new legislation for the purpose of transferring private profi ts to the state purse. Th is has infl ated the pressure on the Inquiry. In volume the Report amounts to one of the biggest bureaucratization of a market in modern time. One could question whether this bulk of new legislation really refl ects the demands of the market. In the case of Framewo ]X\H][X[X ۜ]][ۘ[\]Z\[Y[وYXX[]H[Y[]H\YXY[[Z[\][܈]X[Z[ˈ\YXBݙ\Y[X\و[[Z[ˈY\YHY[HX\]8&\ۙH[B[H]XX[\][[ ][YK[ˈYH]X[[[H\H[\›Z[H[ H\[وH[Y]ܚ]ZY[HH\ܙ\[H]Y[]\˜ۜY\Y]X[HX\\H[ ۂH\[ ]\X\XH[\\›و]Z[XH\\\ˈHY\ܚ[Z[[^][ۈ[[[ۈ\[[[\]Z\H]YH]\\\\B[ٙ\YXKX]ܜ[B\ˈ[]]\[ܘ[Y[YZ[[X[Y\]ܜHX[[œY[YH[[[HY\ڙX܂HX[Y\ˈ[ܙ[ݙ\\H]\[œY\[^Y\\ۜX[]KX\][˜[YZ[\]]HXX[]Y\\HZYۈHX[YK]HܙX]\\܂H\]ܜYH]H[Y\]]HZXKH[Y]ܚ]\HHY][\]YYY[][ۜBHݙ\Y[[HYZ[\]]B]]ܚ]Y\X\H][Z[\[^[Y][K܈H\XXK[HXHHH\ق[]\Z[]H[YYHؚX]\BXY]Y [H[\[[\\B\XY[H[ܘ[Y[وH]˂\HYYHݚ\[ۜ]\HHY]H[\و[ܙH[XH[\XY^H\HHYX[[ٝ[ [[BX]H\YH\ܙ][ۈH\˜[]]ܚ]Y\]ܙX]\Y[[\Z[B[\H]\[\XXKH]\وH\ܝ 0Z[[Y X[\^X[]KH]Z[[X\\]H]B۝Y\[Y\[\HH[YB\H]Y[HXX][ۈوB[]Z\x&\[[]Z[[™ܘHX\HZ\Z[[][ۂۈHX\] U\[XYHZ[