The online gambling market in Sweden has faced many challenges, including the implementation of deposit and bonus limits. These limits took effect on July 2 and were scheduled to last only through the end of 2020, but the Government extended them through June 30, 2021. However, despite these restrictions, a recent survey from the Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen showed that only 5% of Swedes know how to check if a gambling company has a licence to operate in the state. This means that more work needs to be done in order for the Spelinspektionen to protect players from harm.
Still, figures released Friday by the Spelinspektionen showed that Swedish online gambling revenue saw a record in the third quarter. The overall iGaming market saw an increase of 1.3% from the same period last year and 2% from the Q2 2020.
Online operators reported a 5.8% year-on-year increase
The Spelinspektionen released the revenue figures for the Swedish iGaming market in three months ending September 30. The figures showed that the market generated revenue of over SEK6b (over £500 million) in this period which is an increase of 2% higher than in the previous quarter. What’s more, Swedish-licenced online operators reported a 5.8% year-on-year revenue increase. This came as a surprise given the fact that the country introduced a SEK5000 deposit cap (almost £400) on online casino games from July 2, which drew criticism from many groups and gambling operators.
Furthermore, the lottery and slot machine operations of Svenska Spel, the most popular operator in the state, saw a revenue increase of 7.7% in the Q3. Spellinspektionen said that it had no concrete figures for how much revenue was generated by internationally licenced online gambling operators that are present in the Swedish gambling market. However, it believes that the new limits on online casino deposits and bonuses have gained a lot of traffic to international operators.
When it comes to Svenska Spel, the operator didn’t gain revenue from its land-based venues, as they were closed throughout the quarter. Since these are the only land-based casinos in Sweden, the country as a whole didn’t gain revenue from them in Q3. On the other hand, bingo and restaurant casinos recovered from Q2. Bingo grew 23.7% while restaurant casinos revenue increased by 32.4% quarter-on-quarter.
At the end of the quarter, more than 55,000 people had excluded themselves from gambling using the Spelpaus self-exclusion tool, which is 7% more from the end of Q3. Spelinspektionen’s survey also found that 43% of respondents weren’t aware of Spelpaus so the regulator announced a new awareness campaign for the tool.
Spelinspektionen issued a formal warning to XC Gaming
Not only the Spelinspektionen announced Sweden’s iGaming revenue figures on Friday, but it also issued a formal warning to an online licensee. Namely, XC Gaming, the company that operates the Frank & Fred and Klirr brands, received a formal warning and a financial penalty of SEK5m (about £435,000). That is because XC Gaming was accused of serious violations of Sweden’s bonus offer and consumer protection rules.
Spelinspektionen said that XC Gaming offered player bonuses on more occasions and violated the bonus rules that limit new players to a single welcome bonus. The company said that the ‘gifts’ given to the players weren’t connected to the gameplay but the regulator doesn’t believe that. Moreover, Spelinspektionen noted that XC Gaming had previously offered such bonuses to a player who had been flagged as problematic and that’s why it must be warned.