Svenska Spel endures difficult Q3 amid renewed calls for a group split

Casino Cosmopol Svenska Spel

Svenska Spel has reflected on a “challenging” third quarter that has delivered a series of declines across key metrics, as fresh calls to break-up the company are made.

This latter point comes after the right-leaning Moderate Party, which leads a coalition after claiming a majority in elections earlier this year, confirmed that Niklas Wykman has become Minister of Financial Markets.

This came after Ulf Kristersson, Sweden’s new Prime Minister, announced the remaining cabinet positions that will form the country’s government. 

An intention to overhaul the country’s current gambling legislation was also outlined by the Moderates earlier this year through a headline measure that would see the state owned gambling group split into two separate entities for monopoly gaming (lottery and keno) and competitive gaming (gambling units and sports betting). 

Responding to this latest news, Gustaf Hoffstedt, Chief Executive of Swedish trade association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel, made three key recommendations in welcoming a discussion with the fresh appointee.

“Firstly, the licensed gambling companies must be protected at the expense of the unlicensed ones,” he commenced. 

“Secondly, the state should concentrate on making laws that the rest of us must follow rather than acting as a commercial gambling company itself, and thirdly, it would be welcome if Wykman, as the first minister in any government, dares to highlight the gambling industry’s important business and political significance for Sweden and Europe.”

This came slightly ahead of Svenska Spel reporting its performance through Q3, which saw net gaming revenue track a slight one per cent decrease to SEK 1.95bn (2021: SEK 1.97bn) as operating profit declined two per cent to SEK 681m (2021: SEK 696m).

Svenska Spel’s online business increased five per cent compared with the same quarter one year earlier, but has increased to account for 50 per cent (2021: 47 per cent) of total revenue.

The company’s Casino Cosmopol and Vegas segment dropped four percentage points year-on-year, with it noted that the same quarter through 2021 was the first quarter that the group’s land-based casinos were fully open again after being closed for 15 months during the pandemic. The Tur lottery division grew three per cent through the quarter.

Elsewhere, the sports and casino business segment decreased seven per cent YoY due to the “challenging as a result of strengthened gambling responsibility measures”. 

However, these measures are said to have had “a positive effect” on the share of what the group labels as “healthy revenues,” which are said to have reached “the highest level ever”.

“We performed well in challenging times. Both our strong operating margin and our investment in new gaming experiences in all business areas are positive,” stated Patrik Hofbauer, president and CEO of Svenska Spel. 

“This goes hand in hand with continued focus on sustainable gaming, where the share of healthy revenue during the quarter reached the highest level ever.”

For the full year, NGR has also recorded a one per cent downturn to SEK 5.85bn (2021: SEK 5.91bn), with strengthened responsible gaming measures and missing lottery ticket sales targets said to be responsible. The earlier portion of 2021 also has retail gaming entities shuttered. Operating profit through the year-to-date is down three per cent to SEK 1.8bn.