Sweden’s gambling monopolies thriving in regulated market
The concept of open markets is relatively simple, especially when applied to gambling markets that were once dominated by government monopolies. In the perfect, theoretical world, a market is opened to competition and the monopoly (which has never had to provide good service because it’s never had any competition) sees its share of the market shrink.
That’s how it’s supposed to work anyways. But that’s not what’s happening in Sweden, where gambling markets were recently opened after years of stiff opposition from the government…and its gambling monopolies Svenska Spel and ATG.
Svenska Spel and ATG, which handle sports betting and horse racing, are both still dominating the Swedish gaming market, despite the efforts of name brand gambling operators like Unibet, Bet365, and LeoVegas to break their stranglehold.
According to recently released figures from Spelinspektionen, the Swedish tax regulators, the online gambling market in that country generated $3.3 billion SKE ($353.4 million USD) in net revenue for the first three months of 2019. Of that total, about half – $1.645 billion ($180 million USD) went to Svenska Spel and ATG. The remaining amount was split between their 60 competitors for Swedish gambling dollars.
Unibet, Bet365 and LeoVegas were the next closest competitors with a combined revenue of Unibet, Bet365, and LeoVegas with $467 million in revenue between them ($50 million USD).
Gambling industry trade groups are seeing what’s happening in Sweden and are calling foul. They’ve lodged several formal complaints alleging that Svenska Spel and ATG are leveraging their former monopoly advantage (and their copious amounts of customer data) to gain an unfair advantage in the supposedly open market. These complaints and their accompanying investigations are still ongoing but, as it stands today, the Swedish gambling market has been a big bust for the operators who were counting on open markets to foster real competition and revenue.