Sweden betting national market is declining for several years now and the gambling advertising restrictions are not helping the difficult reality.
Sweden betting market is not flourishing despite the state-run monopoly and the serious attempts to stop foreign operators to advertise in the country.
The market has been declining for the last three years and the figures that Lotteriinspektionen, the national regulator, announced in its latest report, confirm this fact. It appears that 2013’s total turnover was SEK 46.8 billion, which is around $7 billion and is 0.3% less than 2012 results.
Total revenue of Swedish-licensed gambling operators was SEK 17.3 billion, but despite the intentional attempts to exclude competition, the revenue flowing out of Sweden to foreign online sites rose 2% to SEK 2.3 billion. If the money stayed in the country, the total national revenue would have been SEK 19.6 billion.
When it comes to gambling spending per household, it remained pretty flat at 2.64% of the disposable income, which makes it around SEK 6,000/per adult.
Different operators’ revenues
It was expected that Svenska Spel, the state-sponsored gambling monopoly in Sweden, generated the highest regulated-gambling revenue of SEK 8.6 billion. The money came from non-casino activity, and Svenska Spel’s Casino Cosmopol, which was in a separate ranking this year, contributed with SEK 1.1 billion revenue.
The horseracing operator ATG’s revenue was SEK 3.6 billion after the turnover 2% fall to SEK 12.1 billion.
The Swedish National lottery reported turnover up at SEK 5.7 billion and the Postcode Lottery revenue was SEK 2 billion (+16%). Additionally, the restaurant casino turnover fell 7.5% to SEK 458 million, whereas bingo continued to attract players and its turnover came to a bit above SEK 1 billion.
Sweden betting market is experiencing serious decline for a third year in a row
• SEK 17.3 billion was the total revenue of Swedish-licensed gambling operators
• Foreign online sites usage by Swedish players rose 2% to SEK 2.3 billion
• Government is trying to initiate a ban on foreign gambling operators advertising in the country
Hakan Hall Bergstedt, Lotteriinspektionen director general, commented that the “subdued demand” for Sweden betting was demonstrating a trend that is common across Europe’s regulated markets.
A good example was France, where the tax revenue from online gambling sites in France fell with EUR 2 million to EUR 325 million in 2013.
In order to address the problem, the French gaming regulator ARJEL recently implemented a campaign against foreign operators, in an attempt to persuade gamblers that using internationally licensed online sites to bet, was in fact a dangerous activity.
Sweden is using similar approach in its war against international operators, and more specifically over their rights to advertise their deals on Swedish media providers.
Section 38 of the Swedish Lotteries Act bans lotteries “of foreign origin”, but the government is currently planning a way to transform the national legislation in way that foreign advertising is explicitly banned by Swedish gambling laws.
European Commission acts’ contradiction
Swedish media outlets had addressed the fact that Sweden’s gambling monopoly is quite contradictory to the European Commission acts, which permit such monopolies only if their primary mission is to minimize their citizens’ gambling habits.
Regardless of EC recommendations, Svenska Spel has drastically increased its promotional efforts in the last years.
This fact provoked various reactions and some critics said that these advertisements only encourage Swedish people to gamble more. Therefore, the operator was accused of only looking at increasing the state’s tax revenue, which didn’t correspond to the official version of trying to restrict gambling activities.