Apparently irked that someone else might dare claim any part of the online gambling universe, Sweden‘s state-run betting monopoly Svenska Spel has decided to apply for an online casino license. While commenting on Svenska Spel’s Q2 results, CEO Lennart Käll noted that the online casino vertical was claiming 7% of Sweden’s overall gambling market, despite the only current options being those operators who dare dispute Svenska Spel’s divine right to all things gambling.
Käll claimed that 20% of problem gambling occurs on sites other than Svenska Spel’s but insisted that this could be mitigated if these gamblers were steered towards “an operator where social protection interests are put over profit.” This will likely prompt chuckles among Swedish media outlets, who have noted that Svenska Spel’s monopoly is only legally justifiable if its intent is to keep a lid on Swedish betting behavior, a claim that comes undone when you realize that Svenska Spel’s marketing budget has risen 50% since 2006.
Käll’s real justification for adding an online casino vertical is Svenska Spel’s Q2 revenue, which fell 6% to SEK 2.2b (US $316m) while earnings fell 6.5% to SEK 1.1b ($161.5m). Retail betting continued to earn the bulk (54%) of Svenska Spel’s revenue, but the online and mobile share of revenue rose two points to 17%, more than restaurant gaming (15%), land-based Casino Cosmopol (12%) and bingo halls (2%). While other operators are reporting great sports betting gains thanks to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Svenska Spel’s sports betting vertical accounted for 18% of Q2 revenue, up just one point over the same period last year.
BETSSON LAUNCH MR SMITH CASINO, WEIGH UK OPTIONS
Swedish gambling operator Betsson has relaunched its UK-facing Harry Casino under a new brand while it considers whether to apply for a new UK Gambling Commission-issued license. Harry Casino has been reborn as Mr Smith Casino, which, like its former incarnation, is powered by Betsson’s Malta-based subsidiary BML Group.
Operators wishing to continue serving the UK market after October 1 have until September 16 to file their applications as the nation prepares to implement its new gambling regime. Betsson CEO Magnus Silfverberg has suggested the likelihood of his company submitting the necessary paperwork is “more than 50%.” Silfverberg said the company is using the Mr Smith site to evaluate the UK’s market potential for its new brand as well as Betsson’s eponymous site and its CasinoEuro brands.