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Swedish regulator deems newspaper competitions unlicensed betting

Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet offered betting without a licence, according to the Nordic country’s regulator.

The publication, whose name translates to Evening Paper in English, provided “games in the form of betting” via its manager competitions; contests akin to fantasy football where players could win prizes, including iPhones and travel gift cards.

However, an assessment from the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) deemed these games betting under the country’s Gaming Act, an activity for which Aftonbladet lacked the requisite licence.

While the newspaper argued that its manager competitions were “clean skill games”, which are not covered by Sweden’s gambling law, the regulator begged to differ.

To enter these competitions, customers had to make a payment, which included a subscription to Aftonbladet Plus for two months, though existing Plus customers could enter for free.

And based on its investigation, the SGA said the competitions’ outcome was directly tied to the outcome of real-world football tournaments, thus meeting the country’s legal definition of betting.

“It appears from the investigation that Aftonbladet’s manager competitions are based on participants picking out their own fictitious team of optional players adjacent to a real one, tournament or series, or a real championship in sports, and that the outcome of the manager competition depends on the outcome in the corresponding real event,” stated the regulator.

“This, according to the Swedish Gambling Authority, means that the participants invest in the outcome of the future events, which is the definition of betting under the Gaming Act.”

Aftonbladet has since made a correction, and thus no longer violates Sweden’s Gaming Act. As a result, the SGA said there is “no need to issue an injunction or ban.”


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