Swedish GGR climbs 5% in 2022 as regulator warns resources are tied up in litigation
Licensed gambling companies in Sweden generated GGR of SEK27.4bn (€2.41bn) during 2022, according to the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA).
That figure represents an increase of 5.1% compared to the previous year.
The published figures are preliminary and based on data from the Swedish Tax Agency, the SGA noted.
Breaking down the results by market sector, licensees in the commercial online gaming and betting category saw the largest growth, as GGR increased by just over 6% to SEK17.1bn.
Meanwhile, GGR from the state lottery and slot machines remained largely unchanged, generating approximately SEK5.8bn.
The SGA stressed that year-on-year comparisons must be seen against a backdrop of pandemic-related measures in 2021, which affected several licence categories.
Restrictions included the introduction of temporary heightened responsible gambling measures, as well as the closure of Casino Cosmopol for parts of the year.
During Q4 2022 specifically, Swedish GGR increased by 3.2% compared to the same period in 2021, reaching SEK7.2bn.
The SGA said the increase in revenue was particularly significant given the temporary responsible gambling measures and the closure of Casino Cosmopol in 2021.
The growth numbers also show the resilience of the gaming industry in Sweden despite the challenging circumstances.
As of the end of 2022, approximately 85,000 people had self-excluded via Spelpaus.se. That is an increase of 5% compared to the figure in 2021.
The gender distribution among self-excluded players remained relatively consistent with the previous year, with 75% being men and 25% being women.
Notably, 70% of those who self-excluded opted for indefinite suspension, while the remaining 30% chose to suspend their accounts for fixed periods ranging from one to six months.
In addition, the SGA revealed in its 2022 annual report that it collected SEK81.7m in penalty fees, up from SEK13.7m in 2021.
Moreover, the regulator said it plans to review its supervisory fees in 2023 so that they are better aligned with the actual costs of supervising the industry.
The SGA added that a significant portion of its supervisory decisions are currently being appealed.
This has resulted in a high number of ongoing court processes, which “usually last for several years and in several instances can take up a significant part of our resource,” it said.
At the same time, the SGA stressed that clarifications in the legal area are important both for the regulator and for operators since the regulations are still relatively new.
However, the regulator warned that its capacity to initiate and carry out new supervision is currently limited as a result.
According to SGA Director General Camilla Rosenberg, there are “great demands” upon the regulator to continuously adapt its working methods in order to best achieve the goals of Sweden’s regulations.
One result of such demands is the planned introduction of a B2B licensing regime in the market, requiring suppliers to the industry, as well as operators, to gain approval from the regulator.
Despite mounting pressures and the stretching of its resources, the SGA has pledged to engage in greater dialogue with the industry in 2023 than before.