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Only 10% of Swedish gamblers can identify licensed sites

| By Daniel O'Boyle
A survey has found that Swedish players’ awareness of how to identify licensed sites is still extremely low, with only 10% of gamblers saying that they know how to do so.

The report by consultancy Skopm, commissioned by regulator Spelinspektionen, included a survey of 1,600 adults in Sweden about their gambling habits in 2021.

Among the questions were ones about unlicensed gambling.

The survey found that 53% of past-year gamblers believe that there are advantages to playing with licensed sites, and only 2% said they had deliberately and knowingly played with an unlicensed site in 2021. Meanwhile, 31% listed an operator being licensed as among the most important reasons to choose an operator.

However, just 10% of gamblers said that they knew how to identify whether an operator is licensed. This was steady year-on-year, suggesting that there had been no progress in educating the public about the differences between the licensed and unlicensed sectors.

Regular players, though, were more likely to say they could identify licensed operators.

Meanwhile, 21% of respondents said they either will or might play with unlicensed operators.

Portion of population who gamble

Overall, 72% of adults in Sweden had gambled during 2021. This was down slightly year-on-year.

This 72% figure included 52% who had gambled in the past month and 38% who had gambled in the past week before being surveyed, up from 34% a year earlier and the highest figure since 2013.

Men were much more likely to have gambled in the past week, with 46% doing so compared to 30% of women. Older age groups and those living outside of major cities were also more likely to have gambled in the past week.

In total, 2% of players said they gambled “pretty much every day”.

However, 19% of respondents said they might reduce their gambling because of the rising cost of living.

Of those who did not gamble, the leading reason was that they never win, reported by 29% of non-gamblers. 14% said they were tired of playing, while 11% said there were too many gambling ads.

Lotteries were by far the most popular form of gambling, followed by horse racing and bingo. Casino gaming, poker and slots – whether land-based or online – only attracted a very small minority of gamblers, all with 5% or less.

While 2% of Swedes said that they felt they had gambled too much in the past 12 months, 6% said they knew somebody who had done so.

However, less than 1% of respondents said they had sought help for gambling harm.

Perceptions of Sweden’s gambling market

Respondents were also asked about their perceptions of the gambling market. When asked if gambling companies take responsibility for gambling problems, 31% said that they do “to some extent”, while 7% said they “absolutely” do and 24% said they do not at all.

There was more uncertainty about the industry in this edition than last year, with the amount of “don’t” know responses increasing significantly.

Meanwhile, only 4% said the industry “absolutely” takes sufficient social responsibility, while 29% said that it “maybe” does so. On the other hand, 48% said it “probably” doesn’t and 18% said it “absolutely” does not.

Sweden’s fight against unlicensed gambling

Unlicensed gambling has been a major topic of discussion in Sweden. The Swedish government has been working on a bill to bring in permits for online gambling suppliers.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary-general of Swedish trade association Branscheförenigen för Onlinespel (BOS), said he welcomed this plan but was concerned that government expectations of the impact it will have on channelisation were too high.

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