The percentage of Sweden’s population that gambles has fallen by 10% over the past five years, according to the annual market survey conducted on behalf of the country’s gambling regulator Spelinspektionen.
The survey, carried out ahead of iGaming regulations coming into force by polling company Novus in October 2018, revealed that 66% of the 1,582 people polled claimed to have gambled at least once in the past year.
This was unchanged from the 2017 results, though was down 10% from the 76% participation rate revealed by the 2013 edition of the survey. The majority (55%) of players gambled at least once a month, down from 61% in 2013, though up two percentage points from the 2017 survey.
Weekly participation rates fell to 34%, with this group primarily male, and aged between 50 to 64 years old.
The survey also revealed that younger Swedish gamblers tended to play as a form of entertainment, with 61% of all respondents saying they wagered for fun. This group was comprised primarily of those aged between 18 and 29 years old (73%), with the possibility of winning – or winning large sums – being a preoccupation of older men.
With 32% citing the chance to win as a key motivation behind their gambling, 82% of this group was aged 50 and above. This was comprised of 41% aged between 50 and 64 years old, and 41% aged 65 and above. For 31%, the chance to win large sums was a key motivation, with 41% of all men saying such opportunities were key.
Security was also a major concern among players, with 40% saying that playing in a safe and secure environment was the import important element in deciding where to play. This was more important than entertainment to players, with 37% saying a fun experience was most important to them.
It could be argued that this is reflected in the fact that six in ten (60%) online gamblers tended to play with Svenska Spel, which until January 1, 2019 was the only legal online offering. The second most popular site was former horse race betting monopoly AB Trav Och Galopp, through which 15% of respondents gambled. While lotteries are the most popular form of gambling overall, sports betting proved to be the most popular online product.
Players were also shown to be careful to use safeguards, with almost six in 10 (59%) setting a budget before gambling online, though just 17% set time limits. However there was little uptake in self-exclusion controls, with 3% saying they had self excluded, and a majority (55%) saying they were unaware of such a service.
Despite this, Sweden appears to be controlling problem gambling, with just 3% believing they gambled too much, unchanged in the past five years of the survey. However 7% believed that one of their close relatives was gambling too much. There were also signs that players don't believe they are being kept safe, with just 12% agreeing that the gambling market was safe for customers.
Those that did not gamble, meanwhile, said that this was primarily due to the fact they never win, and had never won, according to 32% of respondents. A further 22% said they did not believe gambling was a safe activity.