The percentage of Swedish gamblers using regulated operators is “critically low”, according to the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS).
It follows the results of an interview survey conducted for BOS, which found that 77 percent of all online gambling is through sites with a Swedish licence.
The channelisation rate is highest for lotteries at 91 percent, and lowest for online casino games and poker at 72 percent. Online horseracing is at 89 percent and sports betting is at 84 percent, according to the survey.
A different report, undertaken by Copenhagen Economics in 2020, and also commissioned by BOS, similarly claimed that around 22-28 percent of online casino gambling volume takes place outside the licensing system.
Sports-betting channelisation was estimated to be between 80 and 85 percent in the 2020 report.
Comparing these and other reports’ findings, BOS secretary general Gustaf Hoffstedt said he "believes the situation has worsened" and that the Swedish licensing system is in a "serious situation".
Sweden’s government aimed to ensure that the black market would only capture a maximum of ten percent of gambling activity when the Swedish Gambling Act entered into force on January 1, 2019.
Hoffstedt blames the current situation on the government introducing measures such as banning bonuses and bets on the lower football divisions, which he says have not been well received by customers.
“If we are to succeed in reversing this development, a shift in mentality on the part of the state is required, from hunting, fining and limiting the range of games for licensed gambling companies to hunting the unlicensed ones instead,” Hoffstedt said.
Additionally, the head of BOS wants licensed companies to have certain restrictions on them eased, in order to help them more easily retain customers.
“It is possible to reverse the trend, and from the industry's side we are prepared to join hands with the state to achieve the goal of improved [channelization] in Sweden,” Hoffstedt said.
Data for BOS was collected by online survey firm SKOP, which surveyed 9,850 people, of which 3,000 participated in online gambling at least once every three months.
The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) said it has received the report and will review its findings.
Recently, there have been several additional measures taken in Sweden to ensure a healthy and safe market.
These include changes to the Gambling Act and the Gambling Ordinance, which will enter into force on 1 July 2023 that will expand the regulator’s enforcement powers and create a new standard surrounding what information payment service providers will have to provide authorities, in a bid to create a more effective payment-blocking system against illegal operators.
Additionally, the SGA received an increased grant in 2023 from the government to undertake enforcement activity to tackle illegal gambling and strengthen cooperation with other government authorities.
From July 1, there is also a requirement for gambling suppliers to have a licence, a move which is aimed at increasing channelling and discouraging illegal gambling by preventing operators without a Swedish licence from being able to use licensed suppliers.
Hoffstedt says the new measures could improve the situation, but "not enough to reach the governmental goal of 90 percent".