Sweden’s state-owned gambling operator Svenska Spel posted online growth in Q1 that handily outpaced its internationally licensed competitors.
Figures released Friday by Sweden’s Lotteriinspektionen gaming regulator show the nation’s gambling market generated turnover of SEK5.63b (US$618m) in the first three months of 2018, up 2.8% from the same period last year.
Swedish-licensed land-based and online operators’ turnover slipped 1.1% to SEK4.13b while internationally licensed online gambling operators grew 15.3% to SEK1.5b. Those international sites claimed a 27% slice of the overall pie, roughly four points higher than in Q1 2017.
Svenska Spel’s total turnover was up 1.4% to just under SEK2.2b, thanks entirely to its online operations. While the state betting monopoly’s online arm still makes up less than 30% of its total turnover, the digital ops posted growth of 24.8% in Q1, while land-based turnover fell 6.1%.
Svenska Spel’s digital ops got a serious shot in the arm from mobile activity, which jumped 52% year-on-year. The company launched a new app for its Oddset sports betting product, and the product boosted its number of sports markets to 21k from just 10k last year at this time.
After years of waiting, Svenska Spel is preparing the launch of an online casino vertical once Sweden’s new liberalized online gambling market opens in January 2019. However, the monopoly’s international competitors continue to press Sweden’s government to privatize Svenska Spel’s digital division to ensure a level playing field in the new open market.
As for the rest of the Swedish market’s Q1 performance, horserace betting monopoly operator ATG displayed the same ‘online good, land-based bad’ disparity as Svenska Spel, posting online growth of 11.3% and a land-based decline of 7.8%. However, unlike Svenska Spel, digital wagering makes up over 60% of ATG’s overall turnover, which hit SEK982m in Q1.
Sweden’s major lotteries were all broadly negative, with the Postcode Lottery falling 12% to SEK549m, Folkspel down 8% to SEK128m, IOGT-NTO off 11.6% to SEK62m and SAP/SSU sliding nearly one-fifth to SEK49m.