Swedish Watchdog Warns Mr. Green & Karl Casino For Targeting Self-Excluded Gamblers

Swedish Watchdog Warns Mr. Green & Karl Casino For Targeting Self-Excluded Gamblers November 29, 2019 November 29, 2019 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry November 29, 2019 by Carolyn Dutton
Konsumentverket (Swedish Consumer Agency)

Mr. Green and Karl Casino, two popular online gambling sites in Sweden have come under scrutiny for aggressive marketing practices that do not comply with gaming laws in the country. 

Sweden’s ombudsman threatened both sites with significant fines if they do not change how they market their products.

The Swedish Consumer Agency (KO) sent out injunctions against Mr. Green Ltd which is owned by William Hill, and Karl Casino, based in Malta and owned by L&L Europe Ltd, for marketing their products and services to individuals who are part of Sweden’s registry of self-excluded gamblers.

The Spelpaus online gambling self-exclusion registry was developed and launched in Sweden in January 2019 which was when newly regulated iGaming laws also came into effect. The self-excluded list is an easy way for individuals to willingly exclude themselves from gambling activities. Individuals can choose to exclude themselves for a short period like one month or go ahead and voluntarily ban themselves for an extended period of time.

Gambling operators in Sweden are expected to respect the registry by making sure that their marketing materials do not get into the hands of the self-excluded individuals. These individuals are promised complete protection by the registry, and licensed gambling operators in Sweden are expected to honor that commitment. 

According to the KO, members of the Spelpaus registry reported receiving marketing materials from both Mr. Green and Karl Casino, in clear violation of Sweden’s gambling rules. Both operators admitted to the violations, but chalked them up to well-intentioned errors, with Karl Casino firing an affiliate as a result.

Zero Tolerance Policy 

Mr. Green and Karl Casino provided the watchdog with an assurance that they would ensure all marketing activities fully comply with gaming laws in Sweden. Both operators have promised to upgrade their systems so that similar mistakes will not be committed in the future. The KO accepted the explanation but also imposed a hefty fine of SEK 2 million ($208,000) on each operator. The tough stance taken by the watchdog sends a strong message to iGaming operators in Sweden that there is a zero tolerance policy for gaming regulation breaches.  

Mr. Green and Karl Casino have good reason to heed the directives of the KO as the watchdog has already come down hard on Global Gaming’s Ninja Casino brand. The online casino had its Swedish license revoked for violations regarding corporate social responsibility and money laundering.

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world