Svenska Spel Wants to End Match-Fixing
Svenska Spel has continued its anti-match-fixing agenda through an appeal to the Swedish regulator, Spelinspektionen, in which it asked for stricter regulations. Svenska Spel, the state-owned gambling operator in Sweden has been asking for more robust regulations to prevent this issue for some time now, and has argued recent proposals from Spelinspektionen do not go far enough.
The operator has made a statement regarding the plans that were released by the Swedish regulator last week. In these plans, Spelinspektionen included proposals to ban betting on training matches and friendlies and also proposed only allowing consumers to bet on football matches in the top four divisions of the Swedish leagues.
The regulator has argued that such limitations could be a valuable method of limiting the amount of match-fixing that occurs in Sweden.
Under the proposals, consumers would only be able to bet on the Allsvenskan (top tier), the Supperettan (second tier), Division one Norra and Södra, as well as the regional Division 2 leagues of which there are six.
There will also be limitations on betting on the Swedish Cup under the proposals. In this competition, consumers will only be able to bet on matches that are between teams that are in the top four divisions in Sweden. In games that involve foreign teams, betting would again only be permitted on teams in the top four divisions in their respective countries.
In international games that are played at a level below that of under-21s, betting would be prohibited and similarly, in training and friendly matches betting would also be completely outlawed.
Spelinspektionen released these proposals last week after the pressure on it to tackle the issue of match-fixing in Sweden has been rising. Many have criticized operators for offering odds on lower levels of football both domestically and internationally.
These proposed regulations would be introduced by the regulator at the same time as the other recent proposal to ban betting on rule violations in sports, should they both be approved. These other measures were revealed publicly earlier this year and would make it illegal for operators to offer odds on things like yellow cards and fouls in sports matches.
Svenska Spel’s Reaction
Svenska Spel has been one of the most vocal parties in favor of strict regulation of gambling and for the introduction of legislation to mitigate the issues that arise through match-fixing in Sweden.
The operator has previously argued that measures proposed by Spelinspektionen would not do enough to tackle the issue of match-fixing. On the subject of the proposed ban on betting on rule violations, Svenska Spel argued that the measures would not go far enough, and would fail to protect sports and to prevent fraudulent gambling.
Svenska Spel has argued that while measures like these have the right intention and are a step in the right direction, ultimately they would not give operators the necessary push to effectively counteract the issue of match-fixing, and wouldn’t give the regulator the necessary tools to prevent it.
In a statement released by the operator, the product manager for sports betting, Dan Korhonen, made the argument that limiting betting to the top four divisions in Sweden may prove a very useful tactic for preventing domestic match-fixing. Abroad, however, the top four divisions may be playing at a much lower level and, as such, may be more at risk of match-fixing.
Korhonen also made the argument that he would wish to see betting on certain events in football games banned as well, such as the number of throw-ins or corners. This argument is based on evidence that match-fixers have previously used these events to rig betting markets in the past.
Svenska Spel also had reservations on the proposals in other areas, where it feels that the measures go too far. These criticisms mainly focused on the idea to ban betting on friendly games. This is because international friendlies are a regular and important part of football, according to Svenska Spel. Banning these would be harmful to the sport and operators, in the company’s opinion.
Svenska Spel is of the opinion that all operators in the Swedish market and internationally should be taking steps to minimize the incidence of match-fixing, even if it hurts their profits. The operator believes that taking such an approach would not only benefit consumers but also the industry as a whole, as by taking action the credibility of the industry would be better protected.