After a full year of its much anticipated legislation, and in spite of the usual growing pains, Swedish gambling operator Svenska Spel revealed that it was able to effectively re-divert new private iGaming funds to social causes.
New Donation Program
Specifically, Svenska Spel donated upwards of SEK4.3m (£343,084/€405,213/$446,417) to youth sports associations in the country through its unique 2019 “Prispallen” initiative.
Through the Prispallen program, Svenska Spel has committed to a donation of SEK10,000 to youth sports in Sweden each time an athlete secures a podium place in an international sporting event.
The Distributions of Rewards
Overall, the prominent Swedish national athletics team podiumed a record 432 times in 2019, with majority of 90 achieved by budo and fighting sports, resulting in SEK900,000 in further program funding from Svenska Spel.
Second place in the awards was the powerlifting team, whose 30 podium places netted SEK300,000 in funding; followed by the Orienteering Association with 29 finishes (SEK290,000); the boat racing association's 26 places and SEK260,000 reward, and the skiing association's 20 podium finishes for SEK200,000.
Svenska Spel Chief Speaks
Svenska Spel chief executive Patrik Hofbauer lauded the advances in Swedish sport that the awards reflect, celebrating the “strong international standing” of Swedish sport:
“We at Svenska Spel are, as Sweden's largest sports sponsor, very proud and happy to be able to distribute this money that will help strengthen youth sports around the country," calling the “broad youth sport and good talent development” the “foundations for future international success.”
This enhanced rewards programming builds on last November's announcement by Svenska Spel of a donation of over SEK50m to grassroots sports in Sweden for the seventh consecutive year as part of another initiative called Gräsroten. That initiative's funding was distributed to a total of 8,556 associations across 71 sports, with over half going to football (SEK29.9m); followed by ice hockey at SEK5.8m, and floorball at SEK2.2m.
While much has been made of the fanfare surrounding the lucrative market opening in 2019, and Sweden's growing pains throughout the year of implementation that 2019 was, this innovative redistribution of earnings from gaming appears to be Svenska Spel's greatest triumph in the new era of liberalized play in Sweden. The former monopoly's triumph in this regard should be recognized as an early success of the new market in an uncertain period of growth.