Sweden’s regulated online gambling market posted higher revenue in its first year, although even the local gambling regulator isn’t sure how big those gains might have been.
Figures released Thursday by Sweden’s Spelinspektionen regulatory body show locally licensed gambling operators generated revenue of just under SEK24.8b (US$2.63b) in 2019, with the final quarter turning in the year’s highest quarterly total at SEK6.65b. The figures are only preliminary and are largely based on Swedish Tax Agency data.
The 2019 total represents a rise of around SEK1.4b from 2018’s total, and Spelinspektionen said it at least appears that Swedish market sales “increased significantly” last year. However, the regulator cautioned that the gains could reflect the fact that it may have underestimated internationally licensed online gambling operators’ revenue in previous years.
The catch-all category of Swedish-licensed online gambling operators and casino cruises accounted for just over SEK14b of 2019’s total. As with the overall figure, the online category had its best quarter in Q4 at SEK3.65b.
While the numbers are significant, Spelinspektionen cautioned that it has no way of quantifying the rate of ‘channeling’ aka how many Swedes continue to patronize internationally licensed operators whose offers aren’t subject to the tight controls that have frustrated so many Swedish online licensees over the past year.
Spelinspektionen did cite H2 Gambling Capital statistics that the revenue generated by international sites was likely between SEK1.8b-2.2b last year, of which SEK580m-690m would have been generated in the fourth quarter.
State lotteries and the state-run Svenska Spel’s Vegas land-based slots business reported revenue of SEK5.9b while its Casino Cosmopol division reported SEK975m. Other lottery operations reported revenue of SEK3.4b.
As of this month, there are 96 companies licensed to operate in Sweden, of which 70 hold licenses for online gambling. The latest of these licenses was granted last week to the Malta-based Oring Limited, which operates Twin.com.
The Spelpaus self-exclusion responsible gambling program had registered over 48k names by the end of 2019, while another 1k names had been added by this month.