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Evaluation of the re-regulation of the gambling market. Interim report 2: The gambling market before re-regulation (2019:6)

On 1 January 2019, the Swedish gambling market was re-regulated and Sweden introduced a new gambling legislation through the Gambling Act (2018:1138). In the re-regulation, a system was introduced that means that all companies that provide gambling in Sweden must have a licence.

Swedish Agency for Public Management's assignment

The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) was assigned by the Government to follow up and evaluate the re-regulation of the gambling market. We shall present an account of our work to the Government on a total of five occasions.

This is the second interim report. In this report, we present the situation in the gambling market before the re-regulation. It follows our first interim report where we presented the tools and indicators we use to monitor the re-regulation in an effective manner. This interim report accordingly constitutes a benchmark of the indicators that we will follow up and present no later than 1 April 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Gambling market before re-regulation

Our general view of the gambling market before the re-regulation is that the State's control over the situation on the gambling market was limited, such as when it concerns consumer protection for players, and that the State's revenues from gambling levelled out in recent years. We also confirm that ever fewer individuals gamble, but for more money. Another observation is that justice authorities and other organisations consider that gambling-related crime and match-fixing are a problem that is growing.

Situation in various areas before re-regulation

According to the assignment Statskontoret shall monitor the re-regulation's effects in nine areas. In the report, we present the situation before the re-regulation for each of the nine areas.

Gambling market's development

The gambling market had a turnover of SEK 23.4 billion in total in 2018. Nearly 30 per cent of the total gambling occurred among actors who before re-regulation lacked permission to arrange gambling in Sweden.
In 2018, 58 per cent of the adult population gambled for money at some time. People over 18 years of age use an average of just over 1 per cent of their disposable income for gambling. It is more common that men gamble than women.

Channelling in the gambling market

After the re-regulation, online gambling and betting are forms of gambling subject to competition. Through a licence system, the Government wants to steer – or channel – this gambling to become legal and a part of the regulated system. In 2018, 47 per cent of the Swedes' online gambling and betting took place at actors with licences in Sweden.

The State's revenues from gambling

The State's total revenues from gambling were around SEK 6 billion in 2018. The revenues have increased by more than 20 per cent since the beginning of the 2000s, but they levelled out in the past five years.

Cost development of government authorities

Government authorities have had costs of nearly SEK 22 million in 2018 that can be linked to re-regulation. It is above all the Swedish Gambling Authority that has had increased costs.

Non-profit-organisations' revenues from gambling

The gambling that public service organisations arrange provided revenues to the organisations of more than SEK 1.4 billion in 2018. The sports federations had revenues of more than SEK 100 million from sponsoring by gambling companies in 2018.

Consumer protection on the gambling market

Many of the Gambling Act's requirements on consumer protection and responsible gambling also existed before re-regulation. However, the State lacked the possibility of controlling how the gambling companies without permissions in Sweden worked with this in practice.

Gambling companies bought gambling advertising for SEK 7.4 billion in 2018. During the period 2010-2018, the gambling companies' purchases of advertising increased more than five-fold. Barely one in ten people 16-17 years of age have gambled for money in recent years. This proportion has decreased over time.

Public health and gambling

Around 0.6 per cent of the population had gambling problems in 2018. This corresponds to around 45,000 people. In addition to this, another 0.7 per cent of the population had an elevated risk of of gambling problems . The percentage of people with gambling problems increased somewhat in the past 10 years. The percentage with an elevated risk of gambling problems has decreased, however.

A clear majority of the municipal budget and debt counsellors perceive that more people than before have debts as a result of gambling for money.

Personal integrity

Around 30 per cent of the players believe that the gambling companies' data collection regarding gambling behaviour and gambling patterns is a violation of personal integrity.

Crime and crime-prevention work

There are few people in Sweden who have been convicted of gambling-related crime. But the justice authorities consider there to be a large unreported figure when it comes to illicit gambling operations and match fixing. The authorities have only worked preventively to a limited extent to counteract gambling-related crime. But there is a functioning collaboration between affected authorities and organisations to combat match fixing.