Part 2: Sweden –weathering the storm
licensed market decreases.”
What can be stated with certainty is that it
is bonus availability that explains much of the
attractiveness of unlicensed offerings.
It should be noted here that with sports betting
the impulse to use unlicensed offerings focuses
not on bonusing but rather on the perception that
such sites will offer better odds.
Notably, however, the report does not provide
any evidence that such a perception is correct.
Logically, of course, unlicensed offerings could
afford to offer better odds due to not paying
tax. However, what is perhaps interesting is that
it is the promise of better odds, rather than the
reality, that might be enough to entice some
To add to the evidence that the channelisation
rate being achieved with online casino is on the
decrease, the report then cited evidence from
Google search trends.
Looking at four distinct search terms – gaming
companies without Swedish licence, casino
without licence, casino without Spelpaus and
casino without Swedish licence – the report
showed that the volumes of searches under these
terms rose by 6.4 times over the course of 2019.
All of the evidence from the report suggests
that while a stated aim of the regulation of the
Swedish market was to drive out the grey market,
the actions taken by the regulator may be having
the opposite effect.
There are lessons here for the UK and other
jurisdictions. The anti-gambling lobby in the UK
talks a great deal about attempting to protect
consumers from harm and the industry has
responded with a greater emphasis on player
safety. More can – and likely will – be done in areas
around affordability tests and single player views.
But if greater prohibitions are imposed with little
thought given to how this might affect the rates
of grey market play, then a greater harm will have
been manufactured. It is the task of the industry to
further educate those seeking greater restrictions
and it is beholden on the latter to listen.
Chart 3: Web searches for phrases related to unlicensed casinos
without Swedish licence
Casino without licence
Casino without Spelpaus
Casino without Swedish
Source: Ipsos consumer survey on behalf of Copenhagen Economics
iGB Market Monitor • The UK and Sweden • May 2020 14