When it comes to the world of online regulatory bodies and how well or how poorly they treat their players, and their licensees Sweden is always considered one of the best. They run a tight ship where the business aspect of online gambling is allowed to thrive while also managing the player protection side of things.
Overall, this has led to the regulated Swedish gambling market being profitable, safe and a world leader in the development of global gambling regulations and safeguards.
Despite this being the case one of the milestones the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate is chasing with little success is consistent channelisation of 90% or greater. This is where at least 90% of Sweden’s gambling population play exclusively at regulated online casinos.
Digging A Little Deeper
With the golden channelisation milestone of 90% eluding them the Gaming Inspectorate commissioned SKOP to survey Swedish gamblers about local gambling regulations and to try to understand their gambling habits.
The criteria for the survey were:
- The survey needed to include at least 3000 participants
- Participants needed to be 18 years or older
- They needed to be Swedish residents
- They needed to be online gamblers
The results of the survey were interesting when it came to the core reasoning behind why Swedish players felt the need to gamble at unregulated sites.
The survey covered the same central questions several times throughout by asking the participants why they felt the need to gamble at sites not licensed in Sweden and why they felt their friends did the same, but in different ways to see if a pattern emerged.
Without a doubt the top three reasons each time for these types of questions were the same:
- Better odds for sports betting
- Better bonus offers
- Banned or self-excluded with Spelpaus
A close fourth was the fact that Swedish players are not fond of the monthly deposit limit of 5000kr which applies to total gambling spend across all regulated casinos in each calendar month.
Unregulated offshore casinos do not place these levels of restrictions on Swedish players, allowing them to deposit and lose as much as they feel comfortable with.
Do Swedish Licensing Matter to Players?
We know that regulated markets provide players with governmental oversight which protects them in the long run, ensures jackpots are paid out and that there is someone looking after safer gambling programs.
However, there appears to be a sizable portion of the Swedish online gambling community that does not care or even know much about licensed casinos.
- 7% of participants acknowledged that they intentionally play at unlicensed gambling sites
- 12% said they do not know if they have played at unregulated sites
- 30% were directed to unregulated sites by friends and family
- 47% admitted to searching for bonuses online
If these percentages hold true across Sweden’s gambling population there is a lot of work to be done in balancing the odds, bonuses, and deposit limits so that Swedish players feel there is no advantage to playing offshore while still protecting them from gambling harms.
While the initial restrictions came about as a response to the potential harms related to people being stuck at home during lockdowns, it appears that the time has come to revisit these now stale decisions.
No Nonsense View of Gambling
What is very uplifting about the Swedish gambling community, and by extension the positive work being done by the Gaming Inspectorate in the region is their mature approach to online gambling in all its forms.
The stats showed that:
- 19% of the participants played more during the pandemic but even then, the frequency was considered safe
- Up to 72% of surveyed players are aware that they lose more than win when gambling
It is high time that Gaming Inspectorate moves past its fears about pandemic related compulsive behaviours and considers the facts. Sweden is a mature first-world market with savvy business minded people, low gambling harm rates and a mature approach to gambling. The harsh restrictions on deposits and losses no longer have a place in this ecosystem if they ever did to begin with.