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Swedish Gambling Operators Face a Challenging 2019

Sweden gambling

The domestic gambling operators of Sweden navigated through troubled water in 2018, waiting for the market to open up to the international online competitors in 2019. Swedish regulatory body Spelinspektionen released new figures this week which shows that the country’s gambling market was worth SEK 23.4 billion in 2018, registering only a 1.5% gain from 2017.

Online revenues went up by 12.2% last year. Sports betting increased by 11.5% while online casino revenue increased by 13.7%- accounting for 52% of the overall total. During the same time, land-based operations also fell by 8%. The domestic operations took the lion’s share of the revenue, taking away SEK 16.7 billion. However, it was 2.3% lower from last year.

The state-owned Svenska Spel, the former betting monopoly, also reported a 2.2% decline in sales which brought in only SEK 8.8 billion n 2018. Its online revenues rose by one-fifth but could not offset the 10% decline in the land-based operations of the firm. The ATG horseracing betting monopoly also experienced similar results, with reported overall sales declining by 1.5% year-on-year to SEK 4.1 billion. Its land-based operations declined by 10.7% while online operations rose by 5.2%.

The newly liberalized gambling market in Sweden was launched on January 1 this year opening up the market to internationally licensed online operators. These operators reported a 12.4% year-on-year increase in sales to SEK 6.7 billion. The international sites took up 29% of the Swedish market, registering a five-point increase from 2017.

The various lottery operations in the country went negative last year. Postcode Lottery sales fell by 2.7% to SEK 2 billion. Folkspel lottery was an exception in this case as its revenue increased by 3% to SEK 673 million. The newly licensed online operators in Sweden are given time till the end of March to demonstrate the “noticeable change” in their promotional activities. Failing so, the Minister for Civil Affairs, Ardalan Shkarabi, will lower the regulatory boom.

The current gambling legislation required the operators to engage in “moderate” advertising. It hasn’t created clear boundaries on what should the levels be, but the Swedish consumers don’t look too impressed with the licensees’ interpretations of the laws. The Swedish regulator has called on all licensed operators to attend a meeting with their Consumer Agency on April 2 to gain “increased understanding” on this issue.

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