A new report from the casino guide Casino.se highlights how the Swedish gaming industry has been affected since January 2019, when the government introduced a licensing market for gambling. The report reveals, among other things, that about 50,000 Swedes have used the self-shutdown service spelpaus.se, as well as a dramatic reduction in visitor traffic to the Swedish licensed companies. In addition, criticism is directed at the government’s recent legislative proposals with additional gaming regulations, which, according to the report, risk driving players to unregulated international gambling sites.
Casino.se, Sweden’s leading casino guide, today presents a new report on how the new gambling law from January 2019 has affected the Swedish gaming market and its players. The report, prepared by Casino.se together with the owner company XLMedia, highlights, among other things, changes in consumers’ gaming patterns, government revenues and expenses, as well as the growth of the private industry players, which are today part of Sweden’s regulated gaming market. The report also analyzes the future of the industry, as well as the risks associated with the government’s recent legislative proposals on lower maximum limits for deposits and bonuses, with the primary aim of countering gambling abuse during the corona crisis.
The new gambling law
The new Gaming Act from January 1, 2019, meant that Sweden was granted a licensing market for gambling, with the aim of excluding all the actors that are non-licensed and don’t pay tax in Sweden. According to Spelinspektionen, 98 companies today have active gaming licenses, where of as many as 71 are online. Among other things, the law requires that the companies on their site, clearly offer players three main opportunities to limit their gambling, in the form of the measures spelpaus.se, game limits and self-testing. The companies that do not comply with the rules risk, among other things, having their license revoked for up to two years.
Of the three measures mentioned above, spelpaus.se, which enables self-suspension from virtually all gambling in Sweden, has meant the most important change. In March 2020, according to the Gaming Inspection, nearly 50,000 Swedes had registered on spelpaus.se, of which 76 percent were men and 24 percent were women.
The economic development of the gaming industry
During the third quarter of 2019, the new gaming law had a noticeably negative effect on the Swedish gaming market as a whole. The total return for online gaming operators with Swedish licenses was SEK 3.35 billion, according to statistics from the Gaming Inspectorate, which was a decrease of SEK 120 million compared to the second quarter and SEK 70 million compared to the first quarter of the same year. 2019 was a relatively weak year for the gaming industry, with a total turnover of SEK 24.79 billion, which was only a modest increase from the previous year.
Reduced visitor traffic
New statistics from Casino.se and Google Trends reveal that several of the Swedish licensed gaming companies had significantly less visitor traffic to their sites in 2019 than in previous years. All in all, however, the Swedish licensed companies have so far been mostly satisfied with the development since the new law came into force.
“By having a regulated market, long-term sustainability and industry profits are secured. It benefits both consumers and operators,” says Stuart Simms, CEO of XLMedia, which runs Casino.se.
New bill risks driving players towards the unregulated gaming market
However, a cloud of concern has flared up now in May. It concerns the government’s new bill to introduce a maximum deposit limit of SEK 5,000 a week and a bonus ceiling of SEK 100 to limit gambling, especially during the corona crisis when many are sitting at home. The proposal has generated a massive protest storm from leading industry players, which has been noted in both international and Swedish press. One of the detractors is Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary General of the Industry Association for Online Games (BOS), who believes that these new regulations would counteract its purpose and harm the Swedish gaming industry.
“I react with surprise and consternation. All of these regulations, which may have honest ambitions to strengthen consumer protection, drive players away from the licensed market, ”Hoffstedt said in the report.
To read the full report, please click here.