Sweden’s gambling authority cracks down on illegal ‘skin’ gambling

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s Gambling Inspectorate, has banned four businesses for targeting consumers with illegal ‘skin’ gambling platforms.

Gamevio Ltd, Bigskin Trading Limited, Santeda International BV, and the website Samilland.co were all found to have been in breach of Swedish gambling laws, operating “without a necessary licence”. 

The Inspectorate stated that both Gamevio Ltd and Bigskin Trading had promoted unlicensed games in the form of skins to Swedish consumers.

Skin gambling websites enable customers to purchase virtual goods and currencies, which can then be used to gamble on these platforms.

Popular with younger gaming audiences, skin websites have caused problems for European regulatory authorities in deciding whether gameplay and interactions qualify as gambling.

Spelinspektionen stated: “Skins are collectibles in many popular computer games that can often be redeemed for money outside of the computer game. Websites that offer skin games cannot get a Swedish gaming licence and often lack age control.”

In July 2023, the Riksdag gave the Inspectorate new powers and more resources to directly intervene and block unlicensed gambling activities. Fastforwarding to 2024, Spelinspektionen took a tougher stance against skin gaming platforms. 

These new powers allow Spelinspektionen to authorise direct payment blocks from Swedish-licensed financial services to businesses deemed unlicensed, without needing  court intervention.

The Inspectorate received greater funding to develop undercover surveillance teams to engage with unlicensed websites.

Further protections require all financial organisations licensed by Finansinspektionen, Sweden’s Financial Authority, to record customer transactions with gambling operators. Spelinspektionen can access these records to assist with investigations, penalties, and regulatory settlements.

Regulatory developments see Finansinspektionen and Spelinspektionen support new amendments to the Gaming Act of 2018, which will ban all credit-related transactions for Swedish gambling.

Supported by all relevant authorities, a complete ban on all forms of credit applied to gambling transactions awaits its Parliamentary vote to become federal law on 1 April 2025.