The Swedish gambling industry has been a messy affair for quite some years. There was no regulated online gambling market until quite recently. Before, the market was completely monopolised by the state. However, the new Gambling Act that was introduced on January the 1st 2019 and many things have changed. Now, the Spelinspektionen (Swedish Gambling Authority) has legalised and regulated this aspect of the industry with many strict rules imposed on operators for the purpose of player protection.
In 2019, the gross gambling revenue (GGR) in Sweden amounted to SEK 24.8 billion, a SEK 1.4 billion increase from the previous year. The Swedish gambling market continues to grow and evolve as do the means of gambling. It has been noticed that many consumers are converting to mobile-based platforms now.
An interesting thing is that despite the rise in the overall gambling spend of Swedes in 2019, the gambling participation rates have actually dropped by 6%. This means that while fewer people are gambling, those that are taking part in this kind of activity are investing a lot more in this recreational pastime.
Limits Imposed on Deposits and Bonuses due to Covid-19
Spelinspektionen has regulated the gambling market. However, this may not be the best thing for operators. The Swedish Gambling Authority has imposed several limits on deposits and bonuses allowed at operators’ gambling portals. Some of those restrictions have been worsened due to the eruption of the Covid-19 virus.
Public Opinion of Gambling
At the tail end of 2018, a survey was conducted on the public view of gambling. The survey consisted of 1,300 randomly selected Swedish adults. Results from the survey showed quite a negative view of the industry from the public.
Gambling Participation by Game, Channel, and Operator
The lottery has always been the favourite among Swedes. Nothing has changed in recent years, as 75% of all gambling respondents from a survey in 2019 claimed to have played lottery games. Other number and draw-based games followed with 50% of respondents saying they had engaged in this type of gambling activity.
Third place, in terms of game popularity, was taken by horse race betting. Around 38% of participants had placed bets on this type of gambling. Sports bettings had popularity among 21% of gamblers, whereas only 5% had gambled at casinos.
Retail was the dominant gambling vertical with 48% of respondents saying they had placed wagers at betting shops. Mobile devices stood at 29%, while desktops had 19% of respondents using them for gambling.
The former gambling monopolies in Sweden – Svenska Spel and AB Trav och Galopp – were the most popular operators among Swedish players. A total of 63% of gambling participants in the survey had said they used these operators for gambling. Despite the legalising of foreign operators, not many opted for gambling with them. Only 17% had used ATG as their preferred source for gambling fun, while 4% used Bet356, and 3% used Unibet.
Gambling Trends in Sweden
In 2019, the overall gambling participation rate has dropped by 6% since the previous year, now at 60%. Although the Swedes that are gambling seem to be doing so more, as the overall GGR has rocketed upwards.
Problem Gambling Prevalence in Sweden
A study was conducted in recent years to find out the prevalence of problem gambling in Sweden. It found that, out of lifetime problem pathological gamblers, 78.5% of them were men. Out of the same category, nearly half of the problem gamblers were between the ages of 25 and 44. Only 2.1% of them were aged 65 to 74.
The same study showed that unmarried people were more likely to suffer from problem gambling, as 53.9% were, while only 21.8% were married. A further part of the survey showed that 25.1% of problem gamblers in Sweden were city-dwellers, while the remaining 74.9% lived elsewhere.
An interesting fact on problem gambling in Sweden is that, despite the larger gambling participation coming from men, women took up nearly two-thirds of gambling addicts in 2018. A survey estimated that around 45,000 Swedes suffered from gambling addiction, out of which, women formed 64%.
Overall, Swedes do love to play the lottery. In terms of land-based and online casinos, not so much. They do love to bet on horse racing and sports betting as well, though. The Swedish public is quite sceptical about the new gambling regulations, however. They are also not very happy about the new restrictions on bonuses and weekly deposits.
The gambling industry in Sweden is a very rocky business, to say the least. The state is cracking down on regulations and restrictions, handing out hefty fines to operators that do not abide by them. It is also quite evident that the Swedish population has not been properly educated about the gambling market and the positive side of things. Maybe the government needs to focus on raising awareness about gambling and lighten up on its regulations that are pushing gamblers towards illegal operators.