The Swedish operators are concerned about the leakage of players into the black market from the unregulated sports betting market. As a result, the market is facing a number of issues. The fact that the market was deregulated in 2019, was perceived as a positive step by operators who were actively involved in Scandinavia’s largest online gambling market. There were companies about some of the player security measures – especially the one-bonus rule – but regulation also sponsored opportunities, most notably the number of new marketing channels opening up. In addition, the Swedish government appeared to be confined to a high channelization rate, with a goal of at least 90%. The sequence of the Swedish Gambling Authority’s (Spelinspektionen, or SGA) severe enforcement activity against authorized workers and the increase in limitations on what players can bet on has had the effect of increasing the appeal of the black market. While we might argue about the percentage, it is obvious that the market is facing the channelization problem, the research that was undertaken by Copenhagen Economics for the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS) in the early period of last year estimated the percentage of channelization for sports betting was actually between 80-85%, with online casino measured at only between 72-78%.
Additionally, the government introduced temporary deposit limits that pushed the players into the black market.
New sports bettings that are going to be taken into action in January, are expected to increase the involvement in the black market. Bets on game violations and leagues lower than the top four would be banned for games played in Sweden. The concept behind the restrictions, which also prevent the players under 18 from making bets was to combat match-fixing, but industry professionals say it is less probable to achieve this goal.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, who is secretary-general of the BOS, points out that the change which was made in this case has had some consequences which were not expected to take place. He said that Match-fixing is only illegal in Sweden when it concerns licensed sports betting, so if you cash out any kind of betting from the licensed market you immediately make match-fixing constitutional on that particular betting type. It was probably not intended by the lawmakers, but nevertheless, that is the case.
Political attitudes towards gambling operators pose the biggest challenge on the market. According to the website Nyecasino.ninja, it is important from the side of the Swedish government is to understand that the operators who are licensed are the clients’ best and main friends and if the government and the licensed operators can cooperate jointly in the combat against match-fixing and the other challenges that gambling and sports face, then the future of the market would be great. There is a chance that some of the steps suggested in the recent report of the Swedish Gambling Market Commission will be performed and achieved, even though most of these are likely to affect casinos rather than sports.
It is obvious that sports betting activity reduced last year when the first lockdown hit. But they became able to quickly return to the market. It is also expected that the vaccination will change the environment. It is expected generally, that the question marks about both coronavirus and the political situation in Sweden are expected by many professionals to lead to further consolidation in the Swedish market. The officials are even making the statement that “It probably makes sense for foreign operators to jump in and grab a piece of the market share. It is an interesting market, especially for global operators that can use their scale to go into a new market. It might not be that expensive for them and they can add revenue and add profits in a market that is still attractive.”
Finally, to sum up, there are a lot of changes that were caused due to the global pandemic, as it affected a lot of industries. There were a lot of people left without jobs and this is why they started to find opportunities to gain or generate their profits. There were many new industries that could provide people with this opportunity. It is not a surprise that one of those opportunities was suggested by the entertainment industry because there are left no industries that the global pandemic did not have an impact on. Due to the fact that people were stuck at home and left without the possibility to leave the house, they had a lot of time to become aware of new things and try themselves in different fields. Moreover, when you are bored in the house, a lot of people are trying to find a source to entertain themselves. Gambling, online casinos, or sports betting appeared to be ready to provide such services, but it increased the black market as well. This is why the rumors about the regulation started and it grows the concerns. The final result is still waiting to come.
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