Svenska Spel Denies 33% Spike In iGaming During COVID-19 Lockdown
Svenska Spel, the state owned gambling firm operating in Sweden has fired back against widespread local media reports that the online casino industry is surging amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Media reports suggest that with millions being locked down at home, online casino operators are making hay while the sun shines. Svenska Spel has called out the media for publishing statistics that were misleading.
According to Swedish media reports, local online gambling firms’ logins and registrations have risen by as much as 33 percent in the last two weeks, a statistic derived from the Swedish gambling authority Spelinspektionen’s dataset for 17 of its 60 licensed gambling operators.
Svenska Spel which earlier had a gambling monopoly in the country has disputed this figures.
According to Martin Johansson, an analyst Svenska Spel the 33% increase widely stated in media reports is not related directly to online gambling. Johansson stated that Svenska Spel’s online gambling arm, Svenska Spel Sport & Casino, has not achieved any gains close to that percent.
Media Data Sensationalized
Johansson hit back against the assumption that the rise of online gambling was automatically negative. Because many people are staying home, many are turning to online gambling to relieve their stress and boredom. Johansson stated that this by itself was not a negative, as long as responsible gambling is practiced. Johansson also doubted the veracity of the 33% figure because it used data derived from only 17 operators, and is therefore not representative of the entire industry.
Johansson admitted that the nature of online gambling requires more responsibility on the part of game developers and operators to safeguard punters from gambling harms, but stated that online gambling by itself is not more risky than gambling undertaken in traditional casinos. Problem gambling risks depended more on game type rather than on its being offered online.
New Regulations for iGaming Could be Coming
Kajsa Nylander who is the sustainability manager for Svenska Spel also came out and challenged the media on their 33 percent claim. Nylander stated that the interest for games such as casino, poker and bingo has increased marginally, but the entrance of new players has not resulted in increasing the average consumption of such games.
Swedish media has reported that government ministers are currently considering levying new restrictions on online casinos to quell any concerns about problem gambling during the COVID-19 crisis. Spelinspektionen recently affirmed that they are ramping up their efforts to protect punters.