Spelinspektionen Threatens Zimpler with Severe Penalties
Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen has cautioned payment provider Zimpler of significant fines if it continues operations with unlicensed operators. Zimpler has been given a deadline of 31 July to stop providing payment services equipped with BankID to operators lacking the appropriate license.
In the event of non-compliance, the regulator is prepared to levy a fine of SEK25.0m (£1.8m/€2.1m/$2.3m). Spelinspektionen emphasized that gambling regulations in Sweden are based upon the requirement that all market operators must hold a license, and unlicensed entities should be excluded.
Regulatory Decision and Zimpler's Response
The regulator's injunction ruling against Zimpler is primarily based on the payment provider's use of BankID for transactions with unlicensed operators. BankID is an electronic identification service exclusive to Swedish customers. Spelinspektionen argues that the employment of BankID in these transactions demonstrates that the concerned operators were unlawfully targeting Swedish players.
Zimpler, responding to the case, denied that its actions violated Swedish law. However, the company also pledged to terminate its partnerships with unlicensed websites catering to Swedish users. Zimpler declared that the termination process has begun, and it aims to complete the withdrawal of services by the third quarter at the latest.
Concerns Over Unlicensed Operators and Regulatory Enhancements
This regulatory action follows a report by Sweden’s Online Gaming Industry Association (BOS) highlighting that 77% of Sweden’s online gaming market is channelled - a rate it deems "critically low".
To help counteract illicit activities, the Swedish government granted Spelinspektionen a series of new measures, primarily relating to payment providers. These providers must now share specific information with the regulator, such as details about their systems being used to process payments for unlicensed operators in Sweden.
As of 1 July, Spelinspektionen also started requiring owners of supplier licenses to pay fees. Furthermore, Swedish lawmakers are set to consider a proposal to increase penalty fees for gambling operators violating the country's Money Laundering Act.
Despite the scrutiny and added measures, Zimpler insists its payment service solutions are not explicitly adapted for gaming companies and should be seen as a standard payment task. The company also stated that none of its customers are on Spelinspektionen’s list of brands allegedly unlawfully targeting the Swedish market. Nonetheless, Spelinspektionen maintains that Zimpler has close ties with unlicensed operators targeting the Swedish market.