Swedish gambling operators losing growth race to international sites

 swedish gambling operator growth international sitesSweden’s regulated gambling market grew at one-third the pace of international online operators in the first half of 2016.

According to figures released by Swedish gaming agency Lotteriinspektionen, the market’s overall gambling sales improved 5% to nearly SEK 10.8b (US $1.26b) in the six months ending June 30.

However, state-licensed operators reported H1 sales of SEK 8.2b, up 4% year-on-year, while international online operators grew 12% to SEK 2.3b. That represents a reversal from Q1, in which Swedish operator growth (6%) outpaced their international counterparts (5%), although all Swedish operators reported positive growth for the second straight quarter.

The state-owned (for the moment) Svenska Spel betting business reported H1 sales of just under SEK 4.4b, up a mere 1%, as land-based sales fell 2% to SEK 3.47b while online was up 13% to SEK 922m. Svenska Spel’s share of the overall market was 41% compared to 21% for international operators.

The pattern of land-based declines and online growth was mirrored by the ATG horseracing monopoly, which saw online sales up 11% to SEK 990m while land-based bets fell 3% to SEK 941m. Similar patterns were reported by the People Games and IOGT-NTO lotteries.

The Postcode Lottery was the lone outlier, reporting a land-based gain of 12% to SEK 1.2b while online sales fell 41% to just SEK 19m.

Sweden is planning to open up its online market to international operators, a process that will see the privatization of Svenska Spel. Government officials have promised to have a final draft of the necessary legislation ready by the end of 2017, along with plans to enforce payment- and IP-blocking controls against operators who decline to apply for a new Swedish license.