Legislation News of the Week: Poland Dismantles Criminal Gambling Ring, Sweden Grants Eight New B2B Gaming Licenses

Sweden has recently granted eight new B2B gaming licenses, while Indian tax officials are targeting offshore betting platforms for GST evasion. In the meantime, authorities in Poland have successfully discovered an illegal gambling ring. Swedish operators have voiced support for a fee increase to fund the regulator. And there are rumors circulating that the white paper for the review of the UK Gambling Act will be released in the near future.

Eight new B2B gaming licenses were granted in Sweden

Sweden's Spelinspektionen has granted approval for eight new supplier licenses for B2B businesses that want to offer their services to gambling companies after July 1. The regulatory requirement for gaming software licenses is intended to restrict the access of unlicensed operators to providers and to help reduce the development of the black market in the country. 

The new requirement was passed by Swedish lawmakers in November. Comeon, a brand owned by Co-Gaming, state-run former monopoly Svenska Spel, and Game Shop Limited along with its Maltese subsidiary are among the licensed suppliers. In addition, licenses have been granted to Push Gaming and the Swedish slot developer, Slotmill.

This brings the total number of suppliers authorized to enter into commercial agreements with operators in Sweden, including subsidiaries, to 24.

Indian tax officials focus on offshore betting sites for GST evasion

Indian tax officials have identified around 38 offshore betting and gambling platforms for failing to pay goods and services tax (GST), amounting to Rs 12,000 crore ($1.6bn) between April 2019 and November 2022. 

The Directorate General of GST Intelligence is reportedly taking action against websites based in Cyprus, Mauritius, and the Cayman Islands. These platforms are accused of tax evasion and helping high-net-worth individuals, including celebrities and social media influencers, to launder money out of India. 

The payments were made through international cards and cryptocurrencies, making them harder to track. The Income Tax department and other agencies are also investigating these companies for possible tax evasion.

Illegal gambling ring stopped in Poland

Polish authorities have busted an illegal gambling group that operated in 31 cities between 2015-2019. The group pretended to be a legal business and used entities in Poland and the Czech Republic for illegal gambling using machines that appeared skill-based but were random. 

The investigation led to 29 people being charged with 297 crimes. Among them, 19 were charged with involvement in an organized criminal group and 9 were accused of owning establishments with illegal gambling machines. 

Over $39,000 and 360 machines were seized, and the group generated profits of over $2.1 million. This is part of a global effort to combat illicit money-wagering linked to organized criminality and money laundering.

Swedish gambling operators support fee increase to fund regulator

Leading gambling companies in Sweden are backing suggestions to increase fees to fund the Spelinspektionen, the country's regulator. The Online Gaming Industry Association (BOS) has voiced its agreement with the Gambling Inspectorate's plan to generate more revenue, above and beyond the SEK2.4m ($239,000) recently pledged by the Swedish government. 

BOS has said that while it is satisfied with its discussions with the regulator, it believes the gambling watchdog is currently underfunded and should offer a "one-stop shop" for license holders to ask compliance-related questions. 

The body's secretary-general, Gustaf Hoffstedt, declared it was more important that the inspectorate was "sufficiently funded" than the industry kept license fees low.

Gambling Act review white paper rumored to be released soon in the UK

Rumors swirl around the potential release of the Gambling Act review white paper in the UK. Various industry sources and publications, including iGB and The Times, have speculated that the white paper could be released as early as Monday, April 17th. However, the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) representative declined to comment on the rumors. They stated that they are determined to finalize the details of the review and protect those who are prone to obsessive gambling. 

Despite ongoing rumors, the Premier League's recent announcement of a self-imposed ban on gambling sponsorships displayed on the front of shirts implies that the release of the white paper may be fast approaching. Many industry insiders are eagerly awaiting the white paper's release, hoping that it will strengthen the regulatory framework and make it more suitable for the digital age.

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