In a stunning development on Tuesday, a Swedish Court upheld a ruling by the country’s regulator to grant limited licences to a collection of gambling brands owned by Cherry AB.
Back in December, Spelinspektionen issued gambling licences to seven Cherry brands, under the proviso that they run for two years, instead of the usual five year period.
Among the lucky recipients of these abbreviated licences were Casinostugan, ComeOn Sweden, XC Gaming Sweden, Cherry Casino Sweden, Hajper Ltt, Snabbare Ltd and MOA Gaming Sweden. Each brand is operated by Co Gaming which is owned by Cherry AB.
Aghast at such punitive measures, Cherry then appealed the ruling which was summarily rejected by Sweden’s Administrative Court in Linköping. Ruling in favour of Spelinspektionen, the Court found that the regulator was perfectly within its rights.
The judgment shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise to Cherry. In August of 2018 Spelinspektionen penalised three of its subsidiaries for accepting bets from underage players. A fine of SEK6m was handed down to ComeOn Sweden, Hajper Ltt was hit with a SEK4.5m penalty, while Snabbare was ordered to pay SEK9m in reparations.
But it wasn’t high-‘fives’ all round for Spelinspektionen who’ve recently taken to handing out gambling sanctions like nightclub flyers. Last November, the quango furnished Casino Cosmopol with a penalty of SEK8m. This was after an investigation had found ‘serious and systemic deficiencies’ in the land-based casino chain’s anti-money laundering efforts. As with Cherry, Casino Cosmopol appealed the fine.
While Sweden’s Administrative Court accepted that there were indeed deficiencies in respect of the operator’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing protocols, it ruled that the penalty fee should be reduced to SEK3m. Spelinspektionen is now mulling over whether it should launch its very own appeal.
It’s also mulling over yet another recent Court ruling which relates to LeoVegas. In January the bumptious gaming regulator decided that LeoVegas also wasn’t worthy of a standard five-year licence and instead issued the company with the dreaded two-year permit.
The decision was largely inspired by a fine imposed by the UK Gambling Commission on the forlorn Stockholm outfit due to misleading adverts. Naturally, an appeal soon followed.
This time the Swedish Administrative Court of Linköping overturned Spelinspektionen’s diktat finding that the Gambling Commission fines were insufficient grounds on which to justify the ‘limited licensing window’.
Following the ruling, Spelinspektionen director Anders Sims informed the assembled world media that there was ‘no clear link’ between the LeoVegas and Cherry rulings and that the Cherry judgment arose out of ‘uncertainty about the organisation’.