Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has released data showing an overall decline in online betting and gaming during the COVID-19 pandemic, although operator performances vary.

The data shows that the licensed online gambling market in Sweden grew by 21 per cent in January 2020 compared to January 2019, when the regulated market first opened. Revenue in February 2020 was 9 per cent ahead of the same month a year ago, with the market declining by 5.9 per cent in March and an estimated 5.4 per cent in April.

The fall in online revenue was not evenly shared, with 55 per cent of Sweden-licensed online operators growing revenue in March 2020 versus a year ago, while 58 per cent of licensees have so far reported year-on-year growth in April 2020.

The report also shows that 51,674 people had registered to exclude themselves from gambling with the national Spelpaus system by 14 May, with the majority (35,000+) choosing an indefinite period of self-exclusion.

On the issue of unlicensed gambling, the report estimates that the regulated online gambling market accounts for around 88 per cent of consumers, but also acknowledges difficulties faced by the regulator in combatting unlicensed operators.

These include a reluctance by telecoms companies to serve warning messages to consumers who attempt to access unlicensed websites, as well as banking secrecy laws which prevent the regulator from obtaining the account numbers of unlicensed operators for payment blocking purposes. Both are areas of focus for Spelinspektionen, which is seeking increased cooperation with ISPs, the financial regulator Finansinspektionen, and the Swedish Bankers Association.

The Spelinspektionen report is the first in a series of monthly reports on the development of the Swedish gambling market during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gaming Intelligence

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