Sweden says unauthorized online gambling operators gaining market share

sweden-lotteriinspektionenSweden says unauthorized online gambling operators have increased their share of the country’s market.

On Wednesday, Swedish gaming regulator Lotteriinspektionen released statistics on its gambling market over the first half of 2015. Regulated market operators (both online and land-based) reported gross gaming revenue of SEK 7.9b (US $939m); a 0.3% rise over the same period last year. Meanwhile, online operators not holding a Swedish license saw revenue increase 5% to SEK 2b ($238m).

Local betting monopoly Svenska Spel’s H1 revenue fell 2% to SEK 4.3b, with land-based revenue down 5% to SEK 3.5b and online up 9% to SEK 819m. Horseracing operator ATG’s revenue increased 4% to SEK 1.8b, largely due to an 13% rise in online revenue. The Postcode lottery was flat at SEK 1.1b.

Lotteriinspektionen says the country’s warnings about illegal operators marketing to Swedish punters have had an effect, with total gambling advertising spending falling SEK 140m to SEK 1.5b. Lotteriinspektionen says the decrease was spread across both authorized and unauthorized operators.

Regardless, the fact that unauthorized operators continue to claim far more online market share than Svenska Spel will lead the monopoly to step up its pursuit of an online casino license to better compete with the likes of Betsson, Unibet et al.

Sweden’s government is under pressure by the European Commission to end Svenska Spel’s online betting monopoly. Despite being called on the carpet by the EC last October, Sweden has so far dragged its feet on taking any concrete steps to bring its regulatory situation into compliance.

Some of this responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Camila Rosenberg, who was announced this week as the Lotteriinspektionen’s new chief operating officer. Rosenberg, who has done stints as first secretary at the Ministry of Finance, general counsel at the Energy Agency and a private sector gig with KPMG, will be tasked with overseeing Lotteriinspektionen’s licensing and supervisory activities.