Sweden’s Revamp Reflects a Shifting LandscapePublished November 25, 2017 by Lee R
Dropping interest calls for loosening of restrictions and increases in competition in Scandiniavia’s largest economy.
With activity dropping, the face of online gaming in Sweden, and Scandinavia, is changing.
New reports reveal that the Swedish gambling market did grow by 3 per cent in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same period a year ago, with that growth clearly driven by online gaming.
GGR in Sweden for the first nine months of 2017 amounted to SEK16.56bn (€1.66bn), with the market still led by state-controlled operating entity and former monopoly Svenska Spel, whom maintained a 39 per cent market share with GGR of SEK6.5bn for a drop of 1 per cent year-on-year.
International Operators Move In
The new landscape in post-monopoly Sweden has internationally licensed online gambling operators now in posession of a full quarter (25%) of Sweden’s overall gambling market.
Foreign Operating Revenues Up
Sweden’s governing gaming body Lotteriinspektionen released figures this week indicating the worth of Sweden’s overall gambling market at SEK 16.5b (US $1.95b) for 2017’s first nine months, for a 3% year-on-year jump than the market generated in the same period last year.
Stable Swedish Revenues
The Swedish-licensed operators share of SEK 12.5b remained stable year-on-year, while the market share of Swedish-facing online gambling operators not in possession of a Swedish gaming license rose 11% year-on-year to crack SEK 4b.
Svenska’s New Position
The state-owned former monopoly Svenska Spel meanwhile experienced a slight decline in year-to-date sales of 1% (SEK 6.5b). a drop which was directly attributed to flagging land-based operations, whose performance dropped 5% to SEK 4.9b, as online operations improved 15% to just under SEK 1.6b.
Nine Month Figures
In a country where various lotteries remain in effect after the monopoly was voluntarily broken, licensed online sales for the year-to-date reached were just over SEK 3.4b, representing an approximate share of 46% of the overall online marketplace and the remainder held by international operators.
Synchronizing the Reform
The full dissolution of the monopoly and the privatization of Svenska Spel is set to take effect after the completion of Sweden’s national elections in September, explaining the timing of Lotteriinspektionen’s invite to prospective licensees apply for operation in July 2018.
Luckily for Sweden, the latest study indicates that problem gambling rates remain low and consistent, so that adaptation of the market to privatisation appears ready to come off in a seamless and non-threatening manner overall. Insulating vulnerable players has to remain the ultimate priority of any new online regime anywhere in the world.
The greater concern for operators, regulators and the Swedish government appears to be the continuing overall decline in play among Swedish patrons. The privatized market encouraging free competition and enhanced service offerings stands be the strongest possible response to that issue, and if that doesn’t help, nothing will.