Will the new regulatory system by similar to that deployed by the Danes?
The much debated and delayed changes to the Swedish gambling industry, and in particular the online sector, will hopefully be made clearer at the end of next (March) month, when the government's review of the industry and its recommendations for change will be published.
Anticipating this development, the independent consultancy firm Mediavision published a statement late last week, noting that major online casino companies have reported continued growth in the Swedish market, and that significant growth has also occurred in the online sports betting vertical, where offshore firms have been competing effectively with the state-owned Svenska Spel group.
The introduction of a fair and open regulatory licensing system for foreign competitors within the EU structure, as has been the case in Denmark, is the most likely outcome in Sweden, Mediavision suggests, placing such operators on an even footing with local companies like Postkodlotteriet, ATG and Svenska Spel.
Mediavision claims that throughout 2016 offshore gambling operators secured 23 percent of the total Swedish gambling market turnover, achieving turnover growth of 16 percent, while Swedish operators grew more modestly by just 2 percent, according to official stats from regulator Lotteriinspektionen.
"The offshore operators' growth has to a high degree been driven by online casinos, a gambling type that operators regulated in Sweden are currently not allowed to offer. The other main area of growth is sports betting, where the offshore companies compete against state owned Svenska Spel," Mediavision notes.
"Even though Svenska Spel attracts the majority if sports betting Swedes, overall growth is captured by digital channels — platforms where the offshore companies are superior. Mediavision's analysis shows that this is particularly evident for mobile and live betting.
"In terms of spend, the offshore sports betting operators already generate much more than sports betting via Svenska Spel. During the second half of 2016, offshore companies grabbed approximately 70 percent of Swedes' total monthly spend on sports betting, even though they only attracted 35 percent of all sports gamblers."
Mediavision concludes that Unibet, Bet365, and Betsson are the biggest rivals within Swedish sports betting. The three brands attracted, individually, between 70,000 and 120,000 sports betting Swedes during an average month in the second half of 2016. The strongest growth was displayed by Bet365.
Looking ahead, Mediavision predicts that the competition in the Swedish market will likely also get tougher within other types of gambling.
The fact that online casino is exclusive for operators based outside Sweden is something a market re-regulation could change, but in the meantime the consultancy observes that an increasing number of operators are shifting their interest towards horse racing, a gambling genre that accounts for a significant share of the Swedish gambling market's turnover.
"We expect significant change on several levels throughout the years to come, says Arvid Åsbrink, senior analysist at Mediavision.
His analysis is based upon Mediavision's H2 2016 survey, based on 4,782 web based interviews with randomly selected individuals aged 18-74 years between August 2nd — January 4th.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa