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Sweden’s experience for Ukraine: Blocking the work of illegal operators


From the very beginning of the war, legal gambling operators in Ukraine have been helping the State fight the aggressor.


Despite all the difficulties faced by businesses in times of war, they pay taxes, transfer license fees to the state budget, provide humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons, and collect and transfer donations for the needs of the AFU and the territorial defence units.


At the same time, during the war, illegal gambling representatives using our citizens’ hardships for illegal enrichment stepped up. Law enforcement agencies and the national regulator should deal with them.


But their efforts are not enough since the fight against illegal gambling establishments has long gone beyond the criminal framework. Thus, the means of fighting must be comprehensive, and the experience of other countries can help Ukraine, in particular, those countries where the gambling industry has been legal for more than one year.


Particularly, let us focus on the European experience. Sweden is an example of the struggle against illegal gambling. At the end of last year, the country adopted legislative changes to regulate the gambling industry.


The new law gives the national regulator of the gambling market, Spelinspektionen, the right to carry out “test purchases” of gambling products, thus allowing to ensure compliance by operators with Swedish laws and not operating without a license in the Swedish gambling market.


The law also stipulates greater powers for law enforcement officers to combat match-fixing. For instance, once adopted, the Swedish Sports Confederation and affiliated sports organizations may process personal data collected by gambling license holders to recognize in advance potential match-fixing offences.


According to the law, legal gambling operators are also required, at the request of law enforcement officers, to provide the information needed for the investigation of offences related to gambling.


Another innovative piece of legislation to help fight illegal operators is that Sweden will require B2B gambling providers to obtain permits to do business with licensed operators.


They developed the law over a year, which then resulted in a series of compromises between the government and the business. However, its adoption indicates the willingness of all parties to make certain concessions to each other to reduce the illegal gambling market in Sweden.

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