Issuing a personal statement, Patrik Hofbauer – Chief Executive of Swedish state-owned gambling operator Svenska Spel – has confirmed that from April 2019, Svenska Spel will terminate all forms of online casino advertising.
Updating stakeholders, Hofbauer detailed that the decision to ‘stop online casino advertising across all media channels’ has been undertaken by Svenska Spel’s executive team following ‘intensive internal discussions’.
The decision seeks to help the Swedish Public Health Authority in the treatment of problem gambling, in which Hofbauer states that online casino seems to be the industry outlier.
Pointing to recent Public Health statistics, Hofbauer notes that ‘30% of online casino players detail problems managing their online gaming habits’, a figure that is notably extensive when compared to other online gambling verticals.
Furthermore, Hofbauer states that Swedish gambling helpline ‘Stödlinjens paints a clear picture’ when its 2018 figures demonstrate ‘over 60% of callers indicate online casino as their main source of problems’.
“These are facts that we discussed at Svenska Spel last week and that made us put down our foot. Our online casino advertising already had a restrictive design, but now we choose to completely stop advertising for the rest of the year.”
In his statement, Hofbauer notes that some stakeholders may have objections to Svenska Spel’s decision, as overall Swedish Public Health records detail that problem gambling has decreased over the last three years.
However, Hofbauer states that Svenska Spel cannot afford to reengage with vulnerable audiences that might have suffered from problem gambling in the past.
Closing his statement, Hofbauer asks Swedish industry leaders to follow Svenska Spel and limit/stop online casino advertising.
“If you are serious about taking responsibility, then you should address the problems where the problems exist, even if it strikes the revenue in the short term,” he added. “In the long term, this is the only sustainable one. It is also only when we can improve the industry’s reputation.”