Sweden is fighting back against illegal gambling. Granted additional funding to back up a government pledge to give it more power, state regulator Spelinspektionen issued B2B permits to providers who wish to continue offering their services to the country’s operators from July.

But what will it mean for the established European market? What changes are we likely to see? CasinoBeats spoke to Marina Zacharopoulou, Technical Compliance Manager of Altenar, and Mike Collins, Product Owner at Thunderkick, to find out their take on developments.

CasinoBeats: These new requirements are designed to increasingly disrupt the illegal gaming sector – how effective do you think they will be?  

Marina Zacharopoulou: The efficacy of newly implemented regulations in disrupting illicit activities within the gaming sector relies on several factors, including the specific measures employed.

The Swedish Gambling Authority boasts a commendable tradition and a reputation as one of the most stringent regulatory bodies in Europe. We seek to ensure the efficacy of measures implemented by regulatory bodies with regard to safeguarding the interests of players and individuals involved in the igaming industry.

Mike Collins: We are hopeful that these new requirements will be very effective in disrupting the illegal gaming sector. With the implementation of stricter regulations, suppliers are likely to be more hesitant to supply both regulated and unregulated operators.

This in turn should lead to a decrease in the availability of unregulated gaming content. That will then increase consumer awareness and participation in legal, regulated gaming. Of course, that is the theory. We will see how it plays out in reality – but we are confident that the principles are sound.

CB: Do you think that the new regulations will impact play/spending patterns?

MC: While there may be an initial impact on play/spending patterns, we believe that, in the long term, the unregulated market will decrease. This will should lead to an increase in canalisation towards the regulated market.

This shift towards a more regulated market will provide players with greater protection, ensuring a safer, more secure gaming environment. That is the most important thing here, and what we should all be striving towards.

MZ: The introduction of new regulations has the potential to impact both the behaviours of players and their expenditure within the gaming sector. Depending on the nature of the regulations, they may enforce more stringent player safeguards, such as limitations on deposits or playing time, or impose additional verification procedures.

These changes can significantly influence player behaviours and subsequently impact the overall patterns of play and expenditure.

CB: What is your take on Swedish player/bettor demographics? Do they differ particularly to other regions of Europe?  

MZ: It should be noted that the demographics of Swedish players may differ from those of other European regions. However, a comprehensive assessment necessitates a more specific analysis of data.

Demographics can diverge based on factors such as age, gender, socio-economic status, and preferences for particular game genres. Understanding these demographics is imperative in assisting the Swedish gambling industry, which ranks among the most profitable in Europe, to make informed decisions and tailor its offerings accordingly. Recent reports estimate the country’s total gambling revenue in 2022 to have reached approximately SEK 27bn.

MC: A 2022 study showed that the average casino player in Sweden is in their early forties, working full-time with a monthly income averaging between €2,700 and €3,600. Men constitute 69 per cent of Swedish players, with 44 per cent of people in general engaging in gaming on a monthly basis.

Based on our observations, Swedish demographics are very similar to other European markets. While they may be some regional differences to consider, overall we see a similar profile of players in terms of age, gender and gaming preferences.