Swedish Inspectorate to maintain safer gambling momentum as market expands

The betting and gaming market in Sweden has continued to grow in 2021, in terms of total sales and consumer numbers, according to the Swedish Gambling Inspectorate, Spelinspektionen.

Publishing its full year report for 2021, Spelinspektionen reported that total Swedish gambling sales – meaning stakes minus winnings paid out – for the entirety of the country’s gambling market amounted to SEK 26 billion (€2.4bn).

This represented a year-on-year growth rate of 5%, whilst a vertical breakdown saw commercial online betting and gaming increase by 6%, whilst state lottery and slot machine sales also increased by the same margin. 

Examining consumer trends, the Inspectorate also found that 73% of Swedes had gambled over the past 12 months, although lotteries and numbers games were by far the most popular and dominant methods of betting.

Spelinspektionen’s survey into public gambling behaviour found that 75% of Swedish respondents stated that they had gambled using lotteries or numbers games, followed by 21% who reported betting on horse racing. 

On licencing duties and compliance, the Inspectorate made eight decisions against offshore companies illegally targeting Swedish consumers, with companies such as Lotto Direct targeted for offering unlicensed games, whilst other operators such as Mr Green were hit with fines with AML failings. 

The authority further found that 7% of gamblers admitted to playing with an operator not licensed in Sweden, and a further 12% answered that they are unaware if the site they have been gaming with is registered in the country. 

Lastly, the Inspectorate detailed that the number of individuals who have chosen to self-exclude themselves via the Spelpause.se site amounted to just over 70,000 people by the close of 2021. 

Moving forward, the Inspectorate has detailed that it believes it’s safer gambling mission is becoming ‘increasingly important’ as the number of licensees and players in the Swedish market expands. 

S also acknowledged the potential impact of constitutional changes on gamlbing regulations, as the government’s Ministry of Finance moves to impose tighter restrictions on Swedish licencing duties. 

In particular, Minister of Social Securities Ardalan Shekarabi has argued for “new controls to limit aggressive advertising” as well as enhanced licensing safeguards to protect the “gambling market from unlicensed companies”.

“The proposals will have a major impact, among other things, on the authority’s future work against match-fixing and unlicensed gaming activities if they are implemented,” said Inspectorate Director General Camilla Rosenberg.

“To handle these new missions and data, the authority needs to grow further in order to maintain strong consumer protection and continued confidence in the regulation.”

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