Swedish Investigation Uncovers Twitch Streamers Promoting Unlicensed Casinos

National attention

Investigative reporters from the Stockholm-based national public television broadcaster Sveriges Television AB have drawn attention to Swedish Twitch influencers promoting unlicensed online casino sites.

promoted unlicensed casinos to their audiences.”

The Kulturnyheterna team concluded a six-week private investigation revealing “eight out of ten Swedish influencers on Twitch had promoted unlicensed casinos to their audiences.”

In a news report that drew a bead on the influencers breaking the Swedish Gambling Act and the Amazon-owned streaming platform, Kulturnyheterna said the online casinos being promoted didn’t have a license to operate in Sweden.

In their expose, the investigative team reviewed the streams of Twitch’s most popular creators. Kulturnyheterna concluded it had found evidence of streamers spreading advertising via “hour-long live broadcasts” and by playing games on casino sites that are illegally operating in Sweden, inviting “hundreds of thousands of followers to games.”

The Swedish Gaming Authority corroborated the reporters’ findings that the online casinos advertised didn’t have a license to operate in the country.

Regulator aware

The Stockholm broadcaster confirmed that the Swedish gambling regulator, the Spelinkspektionen, is aware of the Twitch influencers promoting illegal games. The report cites Spelinspektionen Investigator Marcus Aronsson as stating “casino advertising can have consequences.” He added:

We can, for example, ban the business or file a police report.”

According to Swedish law, it is illegal for unlicensed gambling firms to target a Swedish audience, plus its unlawful to promote gambling at these casinos. What is likely to prompt Spelinspektionen to take action against Twitch, the influencers, or both, is that the profiles in question reach half a million Swedish subscribers.

And the gambling regulator has recent form with banning online sites. Last week it banned “a network of skin online gambling websites” operated by offshore firms Newera Frozen PTE, Aprodi Ltd, and Galaktika NV operating out of Singapore, Cyprus, and Curacao, respectively.

Also last week, Spelinspektionen fined legal online operator, the Swedish state-owned Svenska Spel Sport & Casino, a hefty SEK100m ($9.5m) for player protection failures.

Insiders concerned

Kulturnyheterna research revealed that 6 out of 10 of the streamers investigated directly market the illegal sites or games through links in their profiles and broadcasts. These top influencers also offer “starter bonuses to followers who create casino accounts.”

Not surprisingly, critics are gathering.

Allan Erdman, of the support organization Spelfriheten, said it was “problematic” when followers of influencers are “encouraged by someone you trust or have had as an idol” to gamble. He added it was a step further when influencers take their “viewers by the hand and play with them.”

Gambling addiction researcher Anders Håkansson said followers see online casino games in a more positive light “when their favorite influencer plays.” He states this influence is of particular concern with underage gamblers.

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