Swedish gaming regulator Spelinspektionen has fined Bet365 operator Hillside Sports SEK1 million (€98,000) for offering odds on a friendly match that featured underage players.
The friendly match took place on the 28th March 2020 and featured a significant number of underage players from Kronängs IF and Mariedals IK. Spelinspektionen found that of the 34 players involved, 24 were under 18. According to the regulator, this classed the match as an underage sporting event.
Although bets on professional games that feature some underage players are allowed, chapter 8 section 2.2 of the Swedish Gambling Act states that if the majority of players are underage, betting firms must not offer odds.
Hillside argued that the match was not an underage match but a friendly that happened to feature underage players.
A spokesperson for Bet365 said:
“The fact that a majority of the players then turned out to be under 18 years was an unfortunate coincidence that could have occurred in any senior league at any time and which could not be foreseen,”
The operator felt that a warning would be sanction enough in this instance particularly as Hillside took immediate action to ensure that this wouldn’t happen again and voided all bets on the match.
However, Spelinspektionen maintained that this was a clear breach of the Gambling Act and pointed out that this wasn’t the operator’s first infraction of this nature.
Back in June of 2019, Hillside Sports was handed an SEK10 million fine for allowing betting on underage matches. Although this fine was appealed, the courts decided that the fine would stand.
The penalty for this most recent breach was based on the company’s total stakes for 2019 which amounted to SEK11.2 million.