Unregulated Online Gambling Operations Account for 54% of Sweden’s iGaming Market

Sweden’s gambling market was worth SEK5.63 billion (approximately $631.9 million, €528.4 million) during the first quarter of 2018, up 2.8% from the same three-month period a year ago, the latest figures released by the country’s gambling regulator Lotteriinspektionen show.

Half of the gambling revenue generated during the first quarter of the year came from online gambling operations. Online casino games and sports betting services thus contributed around SEK2.8 billion to the quarterly revenue bulk. Sweden’s online gambling market grew 16% year-on-year in terms of revenue generated during the three months ended March 31, 2018, while the country’s land-based market shrunk 8% year-on-year.

Unlicensed online gambling operators claimed the largest share in Sweden’s online gambling market during the first quarter of the year. Revenue from unregulated operations accounted for 54% of the overall revenue produced during the reviewed period.

Svenska Spel, the state-run operator responsible for the greater portion of regulated gambling operations conducted in Sweden, saw its online gambling share increase to 23.4% in Q1 2018 from 21.7% during the same period of 2017. Revenue from ATG, Folkspel, Svenska Postkodföreningen, and IOGT-NTO accounted for the remaining 22.6% share of the country’s online gambling market.

Market Re-regulation

The latest revenue figures come as Sweden’s government is set to consider the latest version of a proposed legislation that seeks to scrap the existing monopoly over the provision of gambling services in the country and replace it with a licensing system.

The proposed new regime aims to rein in international operators that have been targeting local players for years now and whose share in the Swedish gambling market has grown significantly to now account for over a half of the market, as the latest Lotteriinspektionen figures show.

Swedish lawmakers produced the bill and its several versions following the publication of a report into the state of the country’s gambling industry in March 2017. The report recommended the introduction of a licensing regime that would make it possible for interested operators to apply for licenses from Lotteriinspektionen and thus operate in a regulated environment.

The latest version of the legislative piece needs approval from the government, but given the fact that it has seen quite some support so far, it is not expected to come across any serious hurdles.

Sweden’s new gambling law is thus expected to come into force on January 1, 2019. Operators will be able to submit their license applications from August 1, 2018. Successful applicants will be admitted to the country’s newly regulated market. They will be required to pay an 18% tax on revenue from their Swedish operations and to comply with the newly implemented rules for operating in Sweden.

The new regulatory regime will mean that unlicensed operators will be penalized and measures will be taken that these are prevented from operating in the country.

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