Sweden Cracks Down on Illegal Skin Gambling Sites with New Regulations

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Spelinspektionen, the Gambling Inspectorate of Sweden, has taken decisive action against four companies for operating illegal 'skin' gambling platforms targeting Swedish consumers.

The recent notice from the inspectorate identifies the businesses of Gamevio Ltd, Bigskin Trading Limited, Santeda International BV, and the website Samilland.co as violators of Swedish gambling regulations by offering 'games without a necessary license'.

According to the Inspectorate, Gamevio Ltd and Bigskin Trading had promoted unlicensed games involving skins to Swedish consumers. Skin gambling websites are platforms where users can purchase virtual items and currencies, which are then used for gambling activities.

These skin websites have gained popularity among younger gaming audiences, posing a challenge for regulatory authorities in Europe. The main issue is determining whether the activities on these platforms qualify as gambling.

Spelinspektionen elaborated that “Skins are collectibles in many popular computer games that can often be redeemed for money outside of the computer game. Websites that offer skin games cannot get a Swedish gaming license and can often lack age control.”

Tougher Approach in 2024

The year 2024 has seen Spelinspektionen adopt a more stringent stance against skin gambling platforms. This follows  that resulted in banning six skin operators from the Swedish market.

Enhanced Powers and Resources

In July 2023, Sweden’s Riksdag granted Spelinspektionen enhanced powers and increased resources to combat unlicensed gambling activities more effectively. The new regulations empower Spelinspektionen to authorize direct payment blocks from Swedish-licensed financial services to businesses identified as unlicensed, bypassing the need for a court order.

Additionally, Spelinspektionen received greater funding to develop undercover surveillance teams that engage with unlicensed websites. Financial organizations licensed by Finansinspektionen, Sweden's Financial Authority, are now required to record customer transactions with gambling operators. This data is accessible to Spelinspektionen for assisting in investigations, imposing penalties, and reaching regulatory settlements.

Comprehensive Ban on Credit-Related Transactions

Recent regulatory developments involve Finansinspektionen and Spelinspektionen supporting amendments to the Gaming Act of 2018. These amendments will enforce a comprehensive ban on all credit-related transactions for Swedish gambling.

Endorsed by all relevant authorities, the ban on credit in gambling transactions is set to be formalized as federal law from 1 April 2025, following its Parliamentary vote.