Sweden: Online Gambling Drove Q2 2021 Industry Growth

Online gambling in Sweden fueled second quarter double-digit growth in the country, which has its land-based gaming facilities almost completely taken off the country’s gambling map.

Growth Driven by Online Gambling

The Swedish gambling market registered for the three months ended June 30, 2021 SEK6.5 billion ($780 million) in revenue, up 4.7% on the SEK6.2 billion ($744 million) posted in the first quarter of the year, and 10% on SEK5.9 billion ($708 million) in Q2 2020.

SEK4.1 billion ($492 million) of the total was generated by the country’s online casino and sports betting operators, which registered a 13.9% increase compared to the respective three-month period in the year prior.

State lottery and slot machine operations accounted for SEK1.4 billion ($168 million) of the revenue total for the reported quarter, up 9.3% when compared to the second quarter of the prior year.

Revenue from games for public benefit purposes like the national lottery reached SEK939 million ($113 million), posting a marginal increase of SEK2 million ($240,000), while charitable bingo operations chipped in with another SEK44 million ($5.3 million), registering 13.9% growth year-over-year.

The biggest loser was Swedish land-based gaming, as the only land-based casino in the country, Casino Cosmopol, accounted for zero revenue, severely impacted by the coronavirus-related restrictions that kept it shut down since Q1 2020 until early July, when it began re-opening its venues. Land-based commercial gaming venues such as restaurant casinos reported just SEK5 million ($600,000) in revenue for the quarter.

Spelpaus Serves its Purpose

According to the information provided by the country’s gaming regulator, Spelinspektionen, at the end of the second quarter, there were 100 companies with active gambling licenses, 70 of which are licensed to offer online casino games and sports betting. The gambling watchdog also noted that, by the end of June, almost 64,000 players decided to exclude themselves from gambling via the national self-exclusion register, Spelpaus.

In recent months, Sweden saw some developments that could possibly impact the gambling industry in the future, not only on the regulatory front. In June, Swedish authorities addressed the issue of gambling advertising after the Ministry of Finance published a memorandum, calling for “special moderation” to be applied to gambling promotional materials to implement a higher level of protection for customers, leveling gambling advertising with advertising for alcohol.

Alongside efforts of the officials to strengthen customer protection, Spelinspektionen continued with its punitive action against gambling operators which fail to comply with the regulatory regime, with the latest being Mr.Green, slapped with a SEK31.5 million ($3.78 million) fine for failing to comply with the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) regulation.

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