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Swedish iGaming market takes a dive during COVID-19 pandemic

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Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), there has been a rapid decline in revenue for many businesses across the globe.

Recently released data provided by Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen also showed a decline in online gambling rates.

The gambling authorities’ monthly reports showed drastic drops in revenue due to the decline in sports betting.

A drop in revenue

At the start of the crisis period, Spelinspektionen was tasked with producing a number of monthly reports. The latest data forms part of the first of a series of monthly reports produced by the gaming authority.

The most recent reports found that there was a 5.9% overall betting and gaming turnover in March and 5.4% in April. This is in heavy contrast with the 21% online gaming turnover from January and 9% increase recorded in February.

These latest stats show a drastic year-on-year decline, but the authority did state that it should not be taken too seriously as the market only opened at the start of 2019.

Another important factor to take into account is how the novel coronavirus is affecting current statistics. The decline in sports betting brought the overall online betting and gaming revenue percentage down 6% for the year to date.

The gaming authority stated that casino play has increased while sports betting declined due to sports events being shut down during this time period. All betting activities, apart from horse racing, stopped mid-March. It was in this time period when most major sporting events were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the reports, online operators focusing largely on online casino games are fairing much better in this time of crisis than those focusing on sports betting.

Overall there has been a 6% decrease in online gaming and betting sales in March 2020 compared to March 2019. The authority added that 55% of their online licensees reported growth in turnover for March based on tax returns and 58% in April.

Doubts about new regulations

With the increased decline there is a lot of doubt regarding the new online casino restrictions proposed by Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi, that will come into effect on the 1st of June 2020.

The new restrictions include weekly deposits limits of SEK5,000 and a SEK100 cap on bonuses. Many believe that instead of enhancing player protection, the new rules will drive players towards unlicensed operators.

The country’s gaming authority, Spelinspektionen, also spoke out stating that the proposed rules could affect key parts of the licensees’ technical systems.

The regulator believes the changes will not only be time-consuming but require re-certification of the systems, which could mean many licensees will not be able to meet the new requirements.

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