Swedish esports betting fans will suffer with new regulations
At the start of this year, a new Swedish law was instated that prevents licensed sports betting operators offering betting on sporting events where the majority of players are under the age of 18. This regulation is set up to protect younger players; protected them from being targeted for match fixing, tainting their potential future careers.
In traditional sports it’s quite uncommon for a player under 18 to be participating at a high tier professional level, due to the physical and experiential requirements to play at that stage. This therefore only excludes Under-19 and Under-21 matches, etc. from being bet on by Swedish fans.
In esports, however, the age barrier is much less of an issue for players. Younger players may have less stage experience, but their reaction speeds and passion is second to none. They’ve grown up around these games and devoted a large percentage of their time on this Earth to perfecting it.
Battle Royale titles will suffer the most from these regulations. With up to 100 participants taking part, it has the highest probability that one of the contenders will be under the age of 18 and thus prevent betting in Sweden across the entire match / event.
For example, in the Fortnite World Cup the minimum age to compete is just 13 with parental / guardian permission and from the 200 participants the average age was 16.
From reviewing the Esports Earnings Under 18 Earnings list, we see some of the best players in the world started from a young age. Faker started winning prize money at 17 and PawN at 16. Professional Dota player SumaiL had already earned $2.4 million before turning 18 whilst playing for Evil Geniuses, including playing at The International.
Just from the examples in this post, this would mean that most regulators would halt betting markets on Fortnite World Cup and potentially a number of matches in The International. These are major events that draw in both massive viewing numbers and betting traffic. This could also resonate with potential team and organisation sponsorships from betting operators, shying away from teams comprised of majoritively under-18s.
Esports operators fined by Swedish Gambling Authority
The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has begun issuing penalties to operators that have failed to block Swedish betting markets on under-18 matches. A report from EGR has highlighted a number of operators that have been fined, but we’ve truncated this list to only highlight operators with an esports offering.
At time of writing: 1 SEK = 0.093 Euro
There have been a total of €3.9m in penalty fees issued in total for offering betting on sporting events involving under-18 participants across 18 sportbooks.