The Q1-2017 statistics on gambling issued by Sweden’s Lotteriinspektionen this week showed some interesting contrasts between online and land operations, with the former producing a better percentage performance, particularly in the state owned enterprise Svenska Spel.
Overall, the Swedish gambling market was pretty much flat, growing just 0.2 percent year on year with a total turnover of SEK 5.4 billion (around US$ 617.1 million).
Interestingly, and despite government interference in the market, the foreign operators by and large did well, increasing their market share by 13 percent to SEK 1.25 billion, whilst local companies reported a y-o-y decline in their turnover of 3 percent at SEK 4.2 billion.
Svenska Spel led that decline, reporting stakes down 5 percent at SEK 2.16 billion, with the drop-off mainly attributed to its land activity, which was down almost 10 percent year-on-year. In sharp contrast, online operations at the state-owned firm were up 6 percent y-o-y.
The land vs. online difference was repeated in horseracing, where monopoly ATG delivered overall flat revenue y-o-y at SEK 954 million. Land operations accounted for SEK 417 million of that – a slide downwards of 10 percent, whilst the online division posted a 10 percent rise to SEK 536 million.
In the lottery sector online again performed better: The Postcode Lottery’s online revenue contribution rose 22 percent, albeit to just SEK 11 million, in percentage terms outperforming land revenue, which fell 3 percent to SEK 623 million.
The People’s Game lottery suffered an overall decline of 10 percent in ticket sales, although it was not clear what percentage of that was attributed to online activity.
After years of skirmishing with the European Commission over its attempts to keep its gambling market to itself (see previous reports), Sweden is now on the threshold of a reformed and more competitive market, with national government mulling the contents of an extensive review concluded last year.
Whilst it seems unlikely that reform will reach as far as land gambling and the lucrative and popular slots sector, the changes will improve prospects for operators in general as the monopolistic policies that have governed the market in the past are scrapped.