Unibet certain of app return in Sweden

Unibet certain of app return in Sweden

Monday, March 9, 2015 Totally Gaming

Unibet has told TotallyGaming.com that it is confident its mobile application will make a swift return to Apple’s App Store in Sweden despite its sudden removal following a complaint by the country’s regulator.

Unibet, which was formed in Sweden in 1999, saw its app removed along with those of Bet365, William Hill and many others in February after Lotteriinspektionen, the gambling authority, warned Apple that the platforms had contravened national regulations.

However, Unibet is now hopeful that talks between Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), the Swedish industry association, and the regulator will lead to the apps being restored, not least as guidance from the European Commission at the end of last year suggested the country’s current legislation is unenforceable.

“Our opinion is there was no breach of either Swedish or European regulations when apps where available,” Peter Alling, Unibet’s public affairs manager for the Nordics, told TotallyGaming.com.

“Since none of the affected operators where informed of the case, neither given opportunity to submit views on the matter, the issue was dealt with solely in the relation Swedish Gambling Authority v Apple.”

Alling added: “The European Commission decided in October 2014 to refer Sweden to the Court of Court of Justice of the European Union, for gambling regulations not being compliant with the general regulations for the European inner market. Another infringement case has been initiated by the Commission and is not yet concluded.

“The basic set of gambling regulations does not comply with EU-regulations, neither are there any means to really implement them nationally.”

Unibet was not notified that a complaint had been made and was not told that its app was to be removed at the end of last month.

Unibet added that it wants to engage in “friendly dialogue” with the regulator. The Swedish government has said that it intends to implement a licensing system following the Commission’s referral.

The Commission found two major defects with the current ban on promoting operators not licensed in Sweden. Firstly that “criminalisation is discriminatory towards operators licensed in other member states of EU and thus must, by court decision, not be used for criminal proceedings”.

It also said that “the orders Swedish Gambling Authority may issue can’t be executed abroad and risk nationally to come in conflict with freedom of press and information, thus does not constitute an efficient measure to ensure political objectives set forth by Parliament”.

Alling added: “The Minister responsible has publicly stated Sweden will re-regulate into a licensing regime. A governmental commission will most likely be appointed this spring.

“There is no doubt Sweden will develop into a jurisdiction of licenses instead of current monopoly.

“In consultations, via our industry association we are the appointed stakeholder representing private operators to Ministry of Finance. However, when new regulations will be implemented is yet not known.”

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