A survey conducted by Spelinspektionen shows a rise in the number of players gambling on unlicensed sites in Sweden. The accuracy of these numbers is in doubt since the customers had limited knowledge on whether they were licensed sites or not.
The Swedish gambling regulator conducted a survey, with 3,208 participants. At least 7% of the participants admitted to playing on an unlicensed gambling platform. This was up from the 3% recorded in the previous survey conducted by the regulator. But these numbers remain in doubt since the customers may not have any idea about the licensing information of these platforms.
The good news is that most of the players admitted to using regulated platforms for their gambling activities. Still, 12% weren’t sure of whether they played on an unregulated site or not.
The report from the survey also showed players who used unregulated sites saw an increase in their gaming activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This group of players admitted to this fact more readily than other players. At least 19% of the 32% of players who admitted to playing on these sites said their gaming activities increased compared to before the pandemic.
Another 10% admitted to having played more than usual in the three months leading to the survey. But the admission was more forthcoming from the players who admitted to playing on unlicensed platforms. A slight majority of people who used unregulated platforms admitted to playing too much. This is despite a majority of the overall people saying this wasn’t the case.
Web searches led the list as the method players came across unlicensed sites at 47%. Another 31% of people said referrals from friends and advertising led them to these platforms.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that many players cited better winning opportunities and odds as the main reason for seeking unlicensed platforms. At least 25% of players listed this as the main reason. Another 20% said the SEK5,000 deposit limit imposed by the government was the reason they sought unregulated platforms.
The Swedish government imposed temporary gambling controls in July 2020. This was after adopting the proposal in April earlier in the year. Part of the controls included limiting deposits to SEK5,000. These controls were meant to last until the end of 2020 but that wasn’t the case.
The government renewed the controls to June 2021 due to what it termed as the pandemic taking a wrong direction. But the government is keen on extending the controls even further to November. This move was met by heavy criticism from industry players. Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) CEO said this was fodder for the black market to thrive and the recent survey confirmed this.
Lottery games led the list as most played at unlicensed sites. This was the preferred game for 60% of the people who said they play on these platforms once in a quarter. Another 36% of the players preferred non-horse racing events and horse racing.
Slots came in at a distant third at 20% of players saying this is their preferred game type. Bingo was fourth with 11% while poker closed the list at 7%.
The report from the survey comes after the Swedish Gambling Authority conducted another survey earlier in the year. Spelinspektionen found that licensed websites lacked information regarding responsible gambling.