Betsson Sees Yellow for Offering Bets on In-Game Soccer Rule Violations

Swedish online gambling giant Betsson has been yellow-carded by the country’s gambling regulator for offering bets on… yellow cards.

A soccer referee brandishes a yellow card. Sweden bans betting on such events because it could potentially promote corruption in sports. (Image: UEFA)

Betting on rule violations in sports has been against the rules in Sweden since last year, as part of a measure introduced to combat match-fixing.

The thinking is that such propositions provide a low-risk opportunity for individual players to manipulate games for the benefit of gambling syndicates.

A player could commit a deliberate foul, worthy of a yellow card, for example, without arousing much suspicion or significantly affecting the outcome of a game.

As such, all bets related to rule violations are off-limits in Sweden, including cards, penalty kicks, disqualifications, and other punishments that might be dished out to athletes during a game.

Rule-Breaking Rules

But Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen recently received a tip that Betsson offered rule-violation betting in a game in Sweden’s top league, the Allsvenskan, according to iGaming Business.

This was in a game played in May between Sweden’s all-time most successful team and reigning league champion, Malmö FF, and IF Elfsborg, which finished second last season in the Allsvenskan.

The game ended 1-1, with Malmö committing 16 fouls to Elfborg’s 14, and each team picking up one yellow card.

In its defense, Betsson said that the bets in question were offered as part of an accumulator that had been created by a third-party supplier. It added that the combination betting aspect made it difficult for match-fixers to exploit because it was reliant on results of other games that could not be easily manipulated.

The company also noted that relatively few bets had been placed and for little money, a total of around SEK3,000, or $340, and there was no indication suspicious betting had taken place.

When it became aware the market had been offered, it voided the bets and made sure the third-party supplier took steps to ensure this did not happen again. It has now implemented technology to prevent bets on sports rule violations from recurring, it said.

Off the Hook

Spelinspektionen appeared irked by some of Betsson’s arguments, emphasizing that the company had clearly broken the rules and the combination-betting aspect did not change that matter.

But it acknowledged that the low level of betting activity and the fact that Betsson had voided the bets and returned the funds were mitigating aspects in the case.

This time, it was yellow, nor red, for Betsson.

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