A Withdrawal Function Allowed Customers to Redirect their Money
The Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s Gambling Authority, has handed an injunction to online casino operator Videoslots for breaching the country’s temporary deposit cap introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Videoslots has been ordered to terminate the violation and is facing a SEK 250,000 (about $30,150) fine per week, starting from the date that the company was notified of the decision.
The regulator found that players were able to bypass the weekly limit of SEK5,000 (about $603) for online casinos by cancelling withdrawal requests up to two months old. The scheme consists in revoking a withdrawal request and redirecting the amount of money to the customer’s Videoslots account. Players have the option of cancelling withdrawal requests for up to 60 days via the website. Spelinspektionen said:
“With Videoslots’ interpretation of the provision, it would be sufficient for a licensee to state for the players that you have a deposit limit of SEK5,000 per week for commercial online gaming, no matter how much money can be deposited in practice and in different ways and be used for games on commercial online games. The Gaming Inspectorate does not share it the assessment.”
The Deposit Limit Has Been a Hot Topic for the Industry Recently
The gambling restrictions imposed on online casinos following the Covid-19 outbreak became a controversial topic, as according to operators the restrictions only benefitted offshore websites and did not protect customers. In November last year, The Kindred Group opposed the government’s plans to extend the measures through 2021 saying that the plan contradicted the Gambling Act and the Parliament’s policy.
The Swedish regulator explained that Videoslots violates sections three and six of the Temporary Ordinance regarding deposit limits and since the provisions’ objective is to protect players against risky forms of gambling, this violation would normally be regarded as serious. However, due to the fact that operators were given very short time to adjust to the new regulations, the violation is not to be regarded as serious, although neither as minor nor excusable.
Videoslots introduced the withdrawal option in February 2020 following customer requests. The firm insisted that the function was not relevant to the deposit limits and its purpose was to assist players in better controlling their finances.
The firm also claimed the gambling restrictions, created in response to the Covid-19 crisis, were against EU law regarding the free movement of goods and services. Videoslots has launched a lawsuit against the Swedish government aiming to overhaul the restrictions.