Swedish Market Growing Pains in the Face of Shutdowns: Slowly but SurelyPublished October 2, 2020 by Lee R
Despite organic challenges and the impact of Covid on land-based play, the Swedish market continues to take shape.
The Swedish market had to absorb some Corona pain on land in the midst of standard growing pains in maturing its still newly liberalised online market.
The Q2 Results
The Swedish market took the sting in the form of a Q2 gambling revenue drop of 4.1% to SEK5.94bn (£530.6m/€572.4m/$687.9m); while an otherwise encouraging 3.6% increase in online gambling revenue proved insufficient to offset the impact of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on the land-based sector.
The SEK5.94bn total take ended up the lowest for a quarter since the opening of the Swedish regulated online gambling market on 1 January, 2019.
Online betting and gaming revenue was up 3.6% year-on-year from 2019 to SEK3.61bn, yet fell a substantive 1.1% short of Q4 2019 totals and 1.3% short of Q1 2020.
Hashing The Results
These outcomes have led experts to conjecture that the current Q2 2020 rise was brought about by an increase in licensees and greater familiarity with the regulated market—not because of Covid-19 or the shutdowns, despite Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi's previous warnings.
The Shekarabi Controversy
To the disagreement of the industry stakeholders, Shekarabi imposed strict new limits on online casino play last quarter Q2 due to his warning that the circumstances "create great risks in the gaming sector.”
The Controversial Limits
The new limits include SEK5,000 (£428/€476/$540) mandatory weekly deposit caps on play, as well as limiting licensees from offering play incentive bonuses of over SEK100, with the limits originally applied to online betting and gaming before later being revised to just casino.
Trade and Regulator Opposition
Both Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) and regulator Spelinspektionen objected, with the regulator expressing concern over the difficulty of implementing and enforcing the restrictions, likely driving players to illegal gaming sites.
The Monopoly Sector
As for the state-owned portion, Svenska Spel’s state lottery and land-based gaming machines monopoly were down 8.5% year-on-year for Q2 but up 14.7% sequentially from Q1 at SEK1.29bn.
Q2 Self-Exclusion in Sweden
Q2 self-exclusion data reveals 52,000 self-exclusions within the national Spelpaus system, up by just under 4% year-on-year.
Q2 results indicate the maturation of the Swedish market through increases in self-exclusion and online play, and a healthy controversy between the regulator and the government, despite Covid's impact on land-based play.