SBC News Swedish operators halve advertising volume in 2022 

Swedish operators halve advertising volume in 2022 

Swedish gambling has recorded its lowest advertising coverage since 2016, according to new data from the Gambling Inspectorate, Spelinspektionen.

The gross advertising spend on traditional media platforms for 2022 saw Swedish gambling operators invest SEK 3.4bn (€280m) into advertising activity.

Of distinction, the 2022 ad-spend figure is less than half of the SEK 7.3bn (€620m) recorded in 2018, when Sweden reformed and relaunched its gambling marketplace, regulating new online services under the mandate of the Gaming Act 2018.

The high coverage of gambling ads across Swedish media during 2018 and 2019 saw the industry come under political scrutiny.

Overseeing the gambling market’s policy development, Ardalan Shekarabi, former Minister of Social Securities, ordered an advertising review to be carried out as part of the mandatory ‘Gaming Market Inquiry‘, in which a blanket ban on advertising would be considered.

Spelinspektionen’s latest data indicates that gambling ad-spend on traditional TV, radio, print, and outdoor media has decreased year-on-year since its 2018 peak.

Further improvements see a more balanced distribution of gambling products advertised to the public, as 30% of ad spend was attributed to online casinos, 28% to sportsbook (non-horseracing), 26% to lotteries, 12% to horseracing, and 4% to bingo and soft games.

In previous years, MPs and addiction organisations expressed concerns about the high volume of online casinos and slot adverts targeting Swedish consumers, branding them as their riskiest online gambling products.

Published in 2020 by independent investigator Anna-Lena Sörenson, the ‘Gaming Market Inquiry’ recommended the government to impose a ban on advertising casino games from 06:00 to 21:00, alongside stricter broadcast control promoting casino content.

Put to vote in the Riksdag, the market inquiry’s advertising recommendations failed to gain MPs’ support and were not included in the ‘Enhanced Gambling Regulation Bill’ of 2022.

MPs responded that advertising restrictions on gambling had not been rejected, but they would not be included in reforms focused on consumer protections, gambling controls, and implementing new B2B licensing provisions.

Sweden’s new right-wing coalition government continues the reorganisation of the gambling sector led by the Minister of Financial Markets, Niklas Wykman. As such, 2023 reforms have focused on enhancing AML protections and strengthening the regulatory powers and resources of Spelinspektionen, the regulatory authority of Swedish gambling.

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