It is safe to say that in terms of spend and customer interest the online gambling sector has really seen a resurgence over the past twelve months. Many regulated gambling jurisdictions are beginning to report considerable growth in the number of new accounts being registered and as a result a notable increase in gross gaming revenues (GGR).
One of these successful regions is Sweden, where their recent report on the first half figures for 2021 showed a GGR increase of nearly 10%, a phenomenal result given the restrictions the Gaming Authority has imposed on the region.
Simple Facts and Figures
The figures presented in the Net Sales report for Sweden beginning Q1 of 2020 up until Q2 of 2021 speak for themselves. Overall, the licenced gambling market achieved revenues of SEK 6.2 billion and SEK 6.5 billion in the first and second quarters of 2021 respectively.
The growth was driven primarily by the online casino and betting market with a little help from state gambling entities:
- Online Casino and Betting: This market sector reported the largest overall growth and revenue figures for the Swedish market. online casinos and betting sites posted SEK 7.26 billion for the first half of 2020. This figure grew to a respectable SEK 8.05 billion by the first half of 2021, a market growth of nearly SEK 1 billion!
- State Lottery and Slots: This is Sweden’s second-largest gambling sector having posted revenues of SEK 2.42 billion in 2020, a figure which increased by nearly 14% to SEK 2.80 billion by the first half of 2021.
While Public Benefit lotteries and bingo halls remained flat land-based casino venues including gambling halls and restaurant slot machines shows a notable decline from SEK 86 million to a mere SEK 13 million.
Gaming Authority Concerns
In order to protect players from potential gambling harms during the pandemic, the Swedish Gaming Authority imposed several restrictions on gambling as a whole with special punitive measures for online gambling. These included a SEK 5000 monthly deposit limit, cutting back welcome bonuses to a maximum of SEK 100 and requiring players to set playtime limits for each visit to an online casino.
The big question now is whether the regulatory body will seek to impose further limits and restrictions on the licensed gambling market in order to suppress the growing interest and participation in online casino gambling and online betting.
The danger of following this course of action is that despite being a free market region its restrictive regulations put it on par with the worst monopoly or even anti-online gambling markets. This will lead to players seeking out unlicensed online casinos in order to enjoy more freedom and claim larger bonuses.
As the value is drained from the Swedish market it will in turn cause operators to reconsider the commercial viability of holding a Swedish casino license when it makes more financial sense for them to pursue the growing number of players gambling offshore.