The gambling market of Sweden has appeared in many news articles concerning legislation, as new tighter regulations are soon to be imposed on the local iGaming operators. The pressing question is how will this affect the Swedish gambling industry?
General secretary of the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, Gustaf Hoffstedt, has shared insights on the topic, talked about the strict gambling law in the country and gave his predictions about the future of Swedish gambling.
Gustaf, could you provide a brief overview of what is happening in the Swedish iGaming market now? What are the main peculiarities of the market?
At this very moment, there are several governmental inquires going on, and policy changes from the government are suggested. This (high governmental activity in policy changes) has been the case since the reregulation in Sweden. Some of those suggestions are much welcomed, others must be dismissed.
Online gambling in Sweden has been a regulated market for two years, what are the main pros and cons of the existing system?
The best thing is that it is a regulated market. Prior to 2019, Sweden didn’t have a functioning gambling regulation at all. The main negative aspect of the Swedish regulation is that the government and its authorities are not safeguarding the licensing system well. Quite the contrary, they constantly add new regulatory measures that damage the channelization into the licensed gambling market and therefore damage customer protection.
Could you give any tips for operators who want to enter the regulated iGaming market of Sweden?
Be prepared for a bumpy ride. Invest in monitoring and understanding Swedish society. Strict regulatory compliance is not enough.
The recent study, conducted by Spelinspektionen, shows an increasing number of Swedish players switching to unlicensed operators. In your opinion, how can the government regulate this issue effectively?
There are several measures that are essential to stop the leakage to the black and grey market. The most important measure of them all is not to hunt down unlicensed operators, but to let the licensed operators offer Swedish consumers games and entertainment that is attractive within the licensing system. We, as licensed operators, can contribute to high channelization if we are not shackled by too many restrictions.
What is the main reason for the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling to reject the proposed marketing restrictions for the gambling business?
The restriction targets licensed operators. It would hurt channelization and consequently customer protection.
In your opinion, which actions should the Swedish government take in terms of player protection?
Once again, there are several measures the government must take to safeguard player protection. First and foremost, the government must stop its negative attitude towards licensed operators and stop implementing new restrictions on them. Only when they serve the customers – and not the unlicensed operators – it is possible to offer solid player protection.
What are your predictions for the future of the Swedish gambling industry? Will it grow or stagnate in the upcoming years?
The whole gambling market as such will pretty much standstill, but although Sweden already has the highest proportion of online gambling in the EU with more than 50 percent, we will see a continuous transformation from offline gambling to online gambling.