Spelinspektionen, the Swedish gambling watchdog, announced it took action against two of its licensees, Vivaro and Fair Play Bets. Both gambling companies had their operating permits revoked by the regulator on the basis of failing to record any turnover during the first year of receiving them. The regulatory authority explained in a statement it had the option to issue warnings to the two operators.
Spelinspektionen based its revocation decision on the fact both companies failed to commence gaming operations for over a year after they obtained their permits. Vivaro was granted online sports betting and gaming licenses at the beginning of June last year, while Fair Play Bets gained regulatory approval for the provision of online gaming approximately one month later.
The regulator disclosed it decided in favor of revoking the licenses rather than issuing warnings because neither company had taken any betting action during the first twelve months of operation. Both companies recorded zero turnover in their annual reports to the Swedish watchdog, which resulted in the launch of supervisory cases against them.
Vivaro admitted it had not commenced operations but intended to start taking bets sometime in late August. According to the company, it had no choice but to postpone the launch of its services because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Vivaro personnel.
Additionally, the military conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, where Vivaro hails from, resulted in further disruptions for the company since fifty staff members were summoned to serve in the armed forces. The company insisted that due to Sweden’s stringent regulations, it needed more time to prepare for a proper launch rather than rushing things up.
Fair Play Bets Ceased Operations in Several Markets Last Year
Meanwhile, Fair Play Bets, the owner of FPBets and Volt Casino, ceased offering its services in several jurisdictions, Malta included, in 2020. The operator explained it had postponed its Swedish launch because investors insisted that its management team should reduce operational costs and reorganize the business.
The reorganization in question is drawing to completion, according to the operator. Fair Play Bets also said it expected to receive what it called “a capital injection” within several weeks. This would enable it to launch its services in new jurisdictions, Sweden included. The company said the launch would take place in early 2022 or by mid-2022 in the worst-case scenario.
Despite the explanations given by the two companies, the Swedish gambling regulator still decided in favor of revoking their licenses. Spelinspektionen said their failure to initiate operations within one year gave grounds for license revocation under the provisions of the Swedish Gaming Act. The legislation gives the regulatory authority the remit to issue warnings in cases where license revocation was “disproportionate”. However, the regulator determined this course of action would prove insufficient in this instance.
Spelinspektionen also released new guidance on anti-money laundering for licensed operators to follow. The new AML guidance comes after the participants in the Swedish gambling industry asked for clarifications on AML procedures and training protocols.