The Swedish gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, has submitted new regulatory changes for football betting to the National Board of Trade, aiming at combating match-fixing in the country. The National Board of Trade will subsequently submit the proposed regulations to the European Commission for approval.
If the new rules eventually come into force, football betting will be limited to the top four Swedish divisions. As for betting on matches of the Swedish Cup, it will be restricted to those that feature teams from the aforementioned divisions. Furthermore, wagering on matches below the Under-21 level is going to be completely forbidden.
As regards matches that feature foreign teams, betting will only be permitted on matches that include teams from each country’s top 4 divisions. According to Spelinspektionen, restricting betting to the top four tiers is absolutely necessary, due to the fact that lower football leagues are more susceptible to match fixing.
It is also worth noting that, although the Swedish regulator was initially considering to ban betting on friendlies and training matches, it has finally decided to allow bettors to wager on international friendlies.
The regulator's spokesperson stated that match-fixing is one of the biggest threats to sports betting and to the Swedish sites that provide betting today. He also added that there are great risks in offering betting markets on matches of lower football divisions. This happens due to the fact that monitoring from sports federations and the media is significantly lower and since the athletes do not make enough money, they are more vulnerable to corruption.
Moreover, he said that there might be some athletes, or even some football associations, that might come in contact with match fixing at lower levels and then take the problem up to the top divisions.
According to Spelinspektionen’s estimates, the earliest the new regulations could be implemented is the end of 2020. Nevertheless, the regulator’s spokesperson said that those regulations should not become too restrictive, as they might force operators to exit the local market and players to bet on unlicensed websites in Sweden.