Swedish memorandum would strengthen match-fixing battle

If passed, the memorandum would amend chapter 17, section 8 of Sweden’s Gaming Act by allowing licensed operators to process personal data on players if they suspect match-fixing is taking place.

The proposed changes would also allow for more information to be exchanged between Sweden’s gambling regulator (Spelinspektionen), licensees and sports associations if match-fixing is suspected.

However, the memorandum notes that a player’s “personal data” would only be processed under certain circumstances. These include if the data would determine which sporting event might have been affected by match-fixing and the amount of influence the suspected match-fixing might have had.

Therefore, the data processing would be “permitted if it is necessary to review a game for money with the aim of detecting cheating, fraud and other criminal activity” and “to control and report aberrant playing patterns and suspicions of manipulation of results in sports with regard to betting”, according to the memorandum.

In relation to what the proposal calls “individual” sporting events, the names of individuals involved must be shared. This is in order to specify which sporting event may have been affected.

“An example of this is if the suspicions concern a singles match in tennis and
deviant play is noted on the number of double faults for one of the athletes,” the proposal reads.

The amendment would come into force on 1 December 2024.

Long battle against match-fixing in Sweden

The amendment to Sweden’s Gaming Act could have a positive effect on the country’s ongoing battle against match-fixing.

In 2021, the Swedish Football Association suspended four players for betting and match-fixing breaches. The players received bans of four, five, six and seven years respectively.

In October last year the Swedish government agreed to join the Macolin Convention, a European match-fixing treaty. This necessitates authorities to co-operate with operators and gambling trade bodies to further prevent match-fixing.

State-owned operator Svenska Spel has been closely involved with the match-fixing fight. In 2020 it spoke out against anti-match fixing measures proposed by Spelinspektionen. Svenska Spel’s opinion was that these proposals still left a wide scope for match manipulation.

However, in April 2023, it changed its tune and encouraged Sweden to sign the Council of Europe’s convention against match-fixing.

Trade body supportive of the move

In response to the memorandum, industry bodies are submitting their opinions to Sweden’s Ministry of Finance.

The proposals were met positively by Swedish online gambling trade body Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS). Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary-general of the BOS, lauded the government’s proposal to enhance information-sharing between industry bodies.

“Due to GDPR and other privacy legislation, there are obstacles for betting companies and sports associations to cooperate against match-fixing, when it comes to exchanging information about individuals,” said Hoffstedt. “The government now wants to remove that obstacle and it is of course something that we, from the industry’s side, welcome.”

He went on to add that more information-sharing would improve upon Sweden’s anti-match fixing efforts, which had produced positive results “in recent years”.

“An enhanced opportunity for information exchange between betting companies and sports federations further strengthens the fight against match-fixing.”

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