SPER Introduces Operator Conditions Best Practices Guide

The Swedish trade association SPER has released a new nine-point best practice guide to its members that aims to better protect consumers through terms and conditions (T&C) for operators.

The trade body, which represents some of Sweden's largest gambling and sports betting operators, including Svenska Spel and ATG, said it published the guide in response to criticism from the Swedish Consumer Protection Agency (KO) regarding the operator's terms and conditions.

In December 2020, KO called the terms (Terms and Conditions) of 13 licensed operators "unreasonable, vague and misleading" after reviewing operator practices.

Smarkets, Svenska Spel, Videoslots, ComeOn, Aspire Global and eight other operators were among those singled out by KO for alleged shortcomings in player contracts.

These include the apparently high level of documentation required from players when withdrawing funds, and severe restrictions on players' rights to withdraw funds.

“The Swedish Consumer Protection Agency has indicated that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to agreements,” said SPER CEO Jenny Nilsson.

“This is intended as a help and guide. Our recommendation is based on making it clear and understandable for consumers what is applicable when you become and are a customer,” she added.

The SPER recommendation contains nine points and aims to complement the consumer protection rules contained in current legislation and practices created by the authorities.

It includes consumer clarity guidance so players can understand what would happen if these circumstances were caused, and guidance on how the application of foreign laws should be explained to the player.

The guide also makes recommendations to better explain to consumers why documentation is required and to explain changes to terms and conditions to avoid confusion and ambiguity.

“It should be clear to the player what requirements apply to depositing funds into the game account. The same goes for withdrawals,” explains the guide.

“Any documentation requirements that a gaming client must provide should be the same, whether depositing money or withdrawing winnings.

“Which approved methods of transferring funds that the gaming operator uses must be specified in the conditions. Vague terms that limit the right of a gambler to withdraw money should be avoided,” the management adds.

In addition to advice on depositing, withdrawing funds, and clarity, the guide also includes player deregistration best practices, information on clear disclaimers and a complaint procedure, and potential pointers for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) entities.