Svenska CEO wants united front for problem gambling
Svenska Spel’s acting CEO Marie Loob has called on betting companies to avoid offering odds on sporting contests “that are easy to manipulate” after the Swedish state-owned operator posted a year-on-year fall in net gaming revenue and operating profit for the third quarter of 2018.
Net gaming revenue dropped by 2.3% to SEK2.125bn (£181m/€204m/$233m) for the three months through to the end of September, while operating profit slipped by 2.1% to SEK1.176bn, with a 20% slump in sales for the Vegas video lottery terminals cited as the key negative factor.
With the company preparing to compete in a re-regulated market in Sweden in the New Year, online gaming revenue and mobile gaming sales increased by 22% and 42%, respectively.
“The last quarter shows the success of our sports betting for the World Cup, when we exceeded our goals for both sales and customer recruitment, and mobile phone growth is still strong,” said Loob, who is set to hand over the reins to new permanent CEO Patrik Hofbauer in December.
“I am proud that we have succeeded in keeping our market position despite the enormous transformation we are carrying out behind the scenes. We have high customer satisfaction and by far the best image of all gaming companies.”
Loob added that during the third quarter the company invested more than SEK30m into research on gambling addiction.
“I am concerned about the clear downward trend in the whole game industry's image and reputation,” she said. “The massive levels of advertising from our industry may yield short-term profits, but it damages the long-term gaming industry's reputation and it's not good for anyone.
“One of the things that definitely adversely affects the industry's reputation is match fixing. The gaming companies need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, and that is why we do not offer betting on youth games or lower divisions with low levels of control… we do this both to protect our customers and to protect Swedish sports.
“We invite more gaming companies to join the fight against match fixing in a serious manner by cleansing their offer of games that are easy to manipulate.”
In other news, NetEnt has struck an agreement with Svenska Spel’s Sport & Casino subsidiary to supply a range of its online casino games when the re-regulated gambling market in Sweden opens on January 1, 2019.