Finansdepartementet, the Ministry of Finance of Sweden has moved to equalise AML fines and penalties across high-risk Swedish industries.
The decision has been welcomed by Swedish gambling trade association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) on the condition that gambling revenue specifics are recognised by authorities.
Last Friday, Finansdepartementet published a memorandum which outlined changes to the Money Laundering Act, citing that AML Violations must be treated equally as specified in the Gambling Act.
The decision, which will be implemented from 1 April 2024, will lead to an increase in the size of Swedish gambling AML penalties.
However, trade body BOS welcomed the decision that will settle legal disputes with regards to ‘proportionate fines’ issued by Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s gambling inspectorate on AML infringements.
BOS Secretary General, Gustaf Hoffstedt, commented: “There is no reason to downgrade AML violations along with other violations; on the contrary, these are among the most serious violations that can occur in the gambling market.
“BOS cannot emphasise enough the importance that penalty charges for AML breaches, like breaches of the Gambling Act, should be based on the so-called GGR (gross gaming revenue), i.e. what remains in money after winnings have been paid out to the gambling consumers.
“This is also something that is emphasised in the Ministry of Finance’s memorandum, which we welcome.”
Since the adoption of Sweden’s reformed Gambling Act in 2019, Swedish High Courts have been required to settle AML disciplinary charges, in which licensed incumbents such as Genesis Global (2019) and AB TRAV (2022) had challenged Spelinspektionen’s ‘unfair calculation’ on turnover rather than GGR.
On violations and penalty fees, the Gambling Act stipulates that fines can be up to twice the profit made from the violations. However, conflicts arise as “penalty violations related to AML are treated differently than standard violations of the main gaming law”.
An intervention by Finansdepartementet was required, as Sweden aims to expand its AML regulations and consumer protections, which must cover “all providers of gaming services in line with the EU’s fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive”.