Bitter Taste for Sweden from Unlicensed Play in 2017Published May 6, 2018 by Lee R
Sweden is trying, and foreign operators are exploiting the transition.
Adapting Sweden ate a flat year of domestic gambling revenue growth, while foreign unlicensed operators feasted on Swedish players.
The results detailed in the annual report last Wednesday from Sweden gaming regulator Lotteriinspektionen revealed that the 2017 take in domestic regulated market total revenue of SEK 17.2b (US$2b) had no perceptible deviation from 2016 totals.
In contrast, internationally licensed online gambling sites enjoyed revenue growth of a smorgasborg 14.6% to over SEK5.5b.
Sweden’s locally licensed operators were all more or less stuck on the mean year-on-year, with long-time betting monopoly Svenska Spel up less than 1% to SEK 7.85b and the ATG horserace betting monopoly up a paltry 3% to SEK4.1b. Even these scant gains were offset by Casino Cosmopol’s near 4% drop to SEK 1.1b, and local lottery operator’s SEK3.9b total representing a slight drop as well.
Overall, online gambling market revenue in Sweden increased 11.4% to SEK10.3b for 2017, with SEK4.8b (+14.9%) generated by domestic licensed operators. International operators reached out and touched 53.3% of Sweden’s online gambling market The international gambling sites’ share of Sweden’s online market hit 53.3% in 2017, raising unlicensed foreign operators shares to 24.3% of Sweden’s overall gambling market, continuing a climb from its 16.5% market share of 2012.
Among all Swedish citizens, the Swedish adults spent an average of 2.2% of their disposable income on gambling (SEK 6,005, roughly $700). This total was a slight drop from 2016’s 2.4% (SEK6,062), with only international sites reporting a per capita spending rise for the year.
All this takes place against the backdrop of Sweden’s earnest attempt to liberalize its online gambling market after years of monopoly. The key adaptation is the regulator’s extension of invitations to interested operators to submit license applications ahead of the new regime’s launch in 2019.
These figures should serve to expedite the approval of secondary legislation submitted by Sweden to the European Commission, a gesture looking more and more like an olive branch with each new poaching report out of the Swedish market.