Svenska Spel, a major state-run gambling company based in Sweden, is officially stopping its marketing efforts. It comes at an interesting time, as laws towards online casino ads in Sweden are becoming even stricter. Will this help to stop the spread of gambling addiction in the country?
Sweden’s online gambling market is growing substantially, despite having some of the strictest laws in Europe. Let’s take a closer look at why Svenska Spel is officially halting its online casino advertisements.
For many years, the only legal option to bet online in Sweden was through the state-operated company, Svenska Spel. It launched back in 1997 and provided bettors with sports betting lines, casino games, and a lottery. In January of 2019, lawmakers in this country opened the doors to foreign companies.
This is an attempt to increase gambling revenue. In 2018, the overall gambling revenue in the country rose by just 1.5% to about $2.5 billion. Land-based gambling revenue fell nearly 8%. Officials recognized that many players were choosing to play through unlicensed gambling sites, whose earnings are not reported to the government.
Gambling operators across Europe can now offer services in Sweden after obtaining a license from the government. Many of the top online gambling sites in Europe are now available here. Despite a rise in competition, Svenska Spel is continuing to bring in solid earnings.
Patrik Hofbauer, CEO of Svenska Spel, confirmed that the company was stopping all online casino ads in Sweden. The question now, is why?
It’s clear that problem gambling in Sweden is on the rise. More people are betting online here than ever before. Interestingly, a recent study showed that women make up the majority of problem gamblers here.
The country’s Gambling Authority claims an increase in online gamblign advertisements is to blame. As a result, lawmakers here implement some extremely strict marketing laws for gambling companies. These companies are also prohibited from offering traditional bonuses to members, as well.
Patrik Hofbauer states that Svenska Spel will stop its casino advertisements for the rest of 2019.
“Svenska Spel has always pushed the line that all the games in the licensed market risk should be classified based on risk levels, and that stricter rules should apply for the more risky games, both in terms of design and marketing. By ending advertising for online casino, we are now taking the plunge.”
There are many companies offering betting services in Sweden. Hofbauer is calling on these companies to cease their marketing efforts, too. There is no indication of that happening anytime soon.
A 2018 report from the Swedish Public Health Authority shows that more people are scoring higher on the Problem Gambler Severity Index than they did a few years ago. According to this report, 60% of these problem gamblers claimed to prefer making their wagers online.
Svenska Spel feels the removal of online casino ads in Sweden will stop this.
“If you are serious about taking responsibility, then you should address the problems where the problems exist, even if it impacts revenue in the short term,” Hofbauer states.
It’s highly doubtful that other companies will agree. As we mentioned before, this market just recently opened to foreign companies. Online gambling competition here is at an all-time high.
It’s important to note that a complete advertising ban is not being implemented here. Companies still have the right to market their services, albeit with heavy restrictions, throughout the country. These gaming operators will need to voluntarily halt their advertisements.
Do you think other online gambling operators will cease their online casino ads in Sweden? Is this strategy actually effective? Let us know in the comment section below!
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