Sweden’s Svenska Spel Accused of Violating Gambling Ad Rules


State-run former gaming monopoly Svenska Spel has been reported to the Swedish Broadcasting Review Board for allegedly violating regulations relating to betting or gambling advertisement standards to that were outlined when the countries new regulatory regime began in January 2019.

Last Monday, the Branschföreningen för onlinespel (BOS) trade group which represents Sweden’s independent online gambling licensees filed a complaint regarding some of Svenska Spel’s adverts with the Granskningsnämnden media regulator. According to the complaint that was filed, the state-run gambling company has been promoting some of its so-called ‘soft games’ such as Keno, Triss and Lotto gaming through morning shows as well as via a number of family-friendly television programs.

To put this into perspective, a morning show on broadcaster TV4 includes a regular spot in which some guests are invited and allowed to play some of the Svenska Spel lottery products mentioned above. Scratch cards also appear. Even though during the morning the guests are questioned regarding what they will do if they are able to strike it big while playing the games, these segments were found to have no responsible gambling messaging accompanying them – this is a requirement that is stipulated in Sweden’s new regulated market’s rules.

The television programs were described as “clearly promotional” segments in nature simply because of the undeniable prominence in which the state-owned lottery’s product’s logos were displayed. It is also being speculated that Svenska Spel may be compensating the broadcasters for airing the segments without them being mentioned on-air.

“The products of Triss, Keno and Lotto are aggressively marketed in commercial TV channels as a natural part of the program schedule in the morning sofas and family programs without any connection to gaming responsibility information,” Branschföreningen för onlinespel (BOS) General Secretary Gustaf Hoffstedt stated.

In addition to the above claims, BOS is also accusing Svenska Spel of being a ‘bad actor’ in the Swedish gaming industry because it has been allegedly exploiting its position and status as a state-owned operator to secure favorable advertising inventory that promotes its gambling services as soft games.

“Pre-funded TV shows with only one message – Win money! – is marketing games about money and should thus be regulated and judged on the basis of the new game law’s requirements and intentions,” Gustaf Hoffstedt added.

Previous Discretions

It is not the first time that Svenska Spel has come under fire for malpractices – this will, in fact, be the second time since the newly regulated market launched on January 1 that the company has been accused of wrongdoings. The first instance was when BOS accused the lottery of marketing its new online casino products to its land-based customer base, something that other gambling operators were not allowed to do.

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