Bet365 Fined by Swedish Regulator

By Martin Green28 March 2021
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Bet365 has been fined by the Swedish regulator for taking bets on a friendly match in which the majority of players were under 18.

Spelinspektionen handed the bookmaker a SEK 1 million (£85,000) penalty fee and issued it with a warning. It related to a game that took place precisely one year ago – on March 28, 2020 – between Kronängs IF and Mariedals IK. An investigation found that 24 of the 34 players involved in the match were under 18.

That put Bet365 in breach of Chapter 8 section 2.2 of the Swedish Gambling Act, which states that betting cannot be offered on “occasions where the majority of participants are under 18 years of age”.

The bookmaker’s parent company, Hillside Sports, argued that it was not specifically a match for younger players. “The fact that a majority of the players then turned out to be under 18 years was an unfortunate coincidence that could have occurred in any senior league at any time and which could not be foreseen,” it said.

Bet365 added that it took immediate action to ensure odds would not be offered on similar matches, including stopping betting on lower-division friendlies. All bets on the game were declared void.

In June 2019, bet365 was issued with a warning and a SEK 10 million penalty fee for offering bets on five Under-19 football matches in Sweden, where the majority of participants were naturally found to have been under 18 years of age.

Entain Set for Enlabs Takeover

Ladbrokes owner Entain is poised to complete a £316 million takeover of Baltic-facing Enlabs after the firm’s shareholders accepted an improved offer.

The FTSE 100 betting giant made an initial offer of SEK 40 per share, which valued the business at £250 million. Niklas Braathen, chairman of the Swedish-headquartered business, approved the deal, but hedge fund Alta Fox – which controls around 10% of Enlabs – said it “materially undervalued the company”.

Alta Fox demanded a minimum of SEK 55 per share, and Entain eventually returned with an improved offer of SEK 53 per share. That has now been accepted by 94% of Enlabs shareholders.

The deal has already earned the necessary approvals from competition authorities and industry regulators, so the deal should complete by mid-April.

Flutter Entertainment Suffers Setback in Kentucky

Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment said it was “disappointed” after a Kentucky state court threw out a petition for a rehearing of a ruling against its Stars Group business.

Last year, the firm was hit with an $870 million penalty by the Kentucky Supreme Court. The court ruled against The Stars Group, which Flutter acquired in 2020, in a case over incurred by Kentucky residents when playing at PokerStars between 2006 and 2011.

Flutter asked for a rehearing, but the Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday denied that request.

“Flutter is disappointed by the denial of its rehearing petition and continues to strongly dispute the basis of this judgment,” the company said in a statement. “Together with its legal advisors, Flutter will continue to consider its position in relation to the judgment, including potentially appealing the ruling of the case to the US Supreme Court along with other legal avenues which it may pursue thereafter," Flutter said.

“Flutter remains confident that any amount ultimately paid to resolve this matter will be a limited portion of the reinstated judgment. Further announcements will be made in due course as and when appropriate.”

888 Becomes Portuguese Grand Prix Sponsor

888 has inked a deal to become the headline sponsor of MotoGP’s Portuguese Grand Prix. The race, which is scheduled to take place on April 18 at the Autodromo Intenacional do Algarve, will be renamed the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal.

“It is a thrilling moment for everyone at 888 while we position ourselves as unequivocal supporters for motorcycle sports globally,” said Monica Rangel, head of PT markets at 888 Portugal. “In challenging times, we consider this a true sign of confidence for Portugal and a clear statement on its importance in international sports events. Above all at 888 we want to support and celebrate this moment with all Portuguese fans.”

Pau Serracanta, managing director at Dorna Sports, added: “We are very happy to welcome 888 as title sponsor for the Portuguese Grand Prix and see the 888 name take top billing at one of the most spectacular tracks on the calendar. 888 is a well-known and respected name in the field and we’re very happy to welcome them back to MotoGP.”