It’s Official: Global Gaming Lost Its Swedish Gambling License

Article by : Helen Dec 15, 2020

Global Gaming, the online gambling company behind Ninja Casino and many other casino brands, has officially had its license revoked by the Swedish Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen. The decision entered into force after an ongoing legal standoff between the regulator and the company that lasted for almost one and a half years.

The initial decision to take away the company’s license itself was reached in June 2019. SafeEnt Limited, which ran Global Gaming, appealed the decision twice, and both times the appeal was rejected – first, in November last year, then in October this year. After the Court of Appeal in Stockholm took the side of the Sweden Gambling authority and upheld the license revocation, Global Gaming decided to give up the battle and not to appeal the Court’s decision.

The main reason for retreating was a change in the company’s management: 95.8% of Global Gaming’s shares were acquired by Enlabs AB on September 21. It initially held 29.9% of Global Gaming’s shares. As reflected in the company’s financial report for 1H2020, soon after, it took full control over the online gambling operator. As a result of the acquisition, the company is also going to be delisted from NASDAQ.

As the current Board of the company put it in an official statement, “This has been a process that the company’s current newly appointed board inherited. […] The Board would like to point out that it took office only a few weeks before the hearing in the Court of Appeal. […] Due to this, there was no reasonable opportunity for the Board to stop the ongoing case even before the hearing in the Court of Appeal.” According to the Swedish Gambling Authority’s decision, it deemed the company no longer fit to hold a gambling license because there were “significant risks that SafeEnt may have been used to launder money or finance terrorism.” The company “offered games that are not covered by the company’s license and violated the regulation on bonus offers.”

Under Sweden’s law, breaking the regulations designed to protect players and ensure safe and responsible gambling – like the one on bonus offers – is a serious violation. So, a warning wouldn’t suffice, and the regulator found the violation problematic enough to become grounds for revoking the company’s license.

Because of the ongoing fuss about the license revocation, Global Gaming was not in its best shape throughout the whole legal standoff.

In between the appeals, the company had to suspend its online gambling platforms in Sweden while waiting for the court’s decision. It also attempted to hand over its flagship product, Ninja Casino, to Viral Interactive Ltd, another Sweden-based company with an active gambling license – yet the Swedish Gambling Authority didn’t allow the transaction to go through.

All of this didn’t reflect well on the company’s bottom line. While Global Gaming managed to turn a profit in the first half of 2020, its financial report for that period started with the words, “Global Gaming is back to profitability!” The operating profit itself was also modest – 0.8 million Swedish Kronas (roughly just 94.4 thousand US dollars), with a year-on-year decline of 54.5%.

In light of the decision, there are two things for sure. First, Global Gaming can forget about the Swedish market for the foreseeable future – so it should rely on other markets. Second, this win is a big one for the Swedish gambling regulator’s watchdog reputation as it strengthened its authority and will probably keep the casino operators on their toes.

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