Look Out Sweden: Corona Measures Appear Monopoly-driven

Published June 18, 2020 by Lee R

Look Out Sweden: Corona Measures Appear Monopoly-driven

Government measures to protect citizens during Corona are threatening to bring back the monopoly.

A unique controversy in Sweden regarding coronavirus measures—not the use of them, but the basis for which they were justified to the public.

Channelisation’s Fall

The cost of misleading the public has been quantified as a pushing of channelisation all the way below pre-liberalization levels.

Questionable Measures

The measures in question were issued in April by Social Security Minister Ardalan Shekarabi. The temporary set of restrictions included weekly deposit limits of SEK 5,000 ($537), from which horseracing and sports betting from subsequently exempted.

BOS Resistance

The controversial measures were tabbed by the general secretary for Swedish online gambling trade association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) as having the opposite effect.

Channelisation Data

In remarks to trade publication Gambling Inside, Secretary Grant Hoffstedt shared Copenhagen Economics data raising concerns about players being driven to the black market pushing channelisation in Sweden down to 80-85%.

The estimate was bolstered by hard data indicating current online casino channelisation was already down to 75% and dropping prior to the new measures.

Draconian Lows?

With low channelisation being the primary motivation for the famous opening up of the large-scale Swedish market in 2019, Hoffstedt claims this protective legislation threatens to push Sweden back down to the Draconian channelisation levels the liberalised market just left behind.

Questioning Government Claims

Hoffstedt further questions the Government's notion that the rate at which consumers are shifting to online casino and sports betting is accelerating—a notion that the government puts forth as the basis of incoming measures to be introduced in July.

More Conflicting Data

Hoffstedt supported his claim with Swedish Tax Authority data indicating a rise in horseracing betting to no more than 40%, while finding no indication that online casino has risen.

Monopoly Signs

The most spurious component is that the Swedish government has representation on the board of horseracing operator ATG and state-owned operator Svenska Spel—the only remnants of the state-owned monopoly that was dissolved and liberalised 18 months prior.


Hoffstedt is basically whistleblowing on his government, calling the revised restriction disconnected to data-based customer protection measures, to avoid corona measures that would ultimately plunge the Swedish market into the recent dark ages it struggled so mightily to leave behind.

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