Gambling Participation Drops to 60% in Sweden

In Sweden’s latest survey into gambling participation in the country, it was revealed that the number of adults participating in gambling has dropped to 60%. This marks a drop of 6% from a similar survey performed at the same time last year.

A building with a "betting office" sign outside.

The study into the gambling habits of Swedish citizens revealed that the majority of gamblers in the country still prefer to bet in betting shops. ©digihangar/Pixabay

The study was carried out by the polling specialist Novus, at the request of the regulatory authority in Sweden, Spelinspektionen. The survey was designed to ascertain the gambling habits of adults in Sweden over the previous 12 months.

Novus carried out 1,600 online interviews with adults in Sweden during October. 45% of participants said that they had gambled in the previous month, and 31% of these had gambled in the past week at the time of questioning. Additionally, 21% of people surveyed said that they had gambled more than a year ago, 17% said that they had never gambled and 2% were unsure of their gambling history.

Of the 31% who indicated that they had gambled in the past week, 39% of the respondents were male and a large proportion of those were aged between 50 and 64 years old (43%). Amongst those who had gambled in the previous month, the percentage of men went up to 50%. 50-64-year-olds again made up a significant proportion of this group, comprising 58% of this number.

The most popular form of gambling in Sweden remains the lottery. 75% of gamblers in the country said that they had played in the past year when surveyed. Other draw-based or numerical games followed. These were played by 50% of the population in 2019. This figure was then followed by betting on horse racing, which 38% of the Swedes surveyed did at least once in the year.

Sports betting lagged behind other forms of gambling and was played by just 21% of those surveyed. This was only followed by casino, which 5% of those surveyed took part in, and poker as the least popular form of gambling in Sweden.

The Swedish population still favors retail betting. 48% of gamblers opted to visit betting shops to play in 2019, whereas mobile devices accounted for 29% and betting on computers made up 19%. For online gambling, be it on mobile or desktop, the old monopolies remain at the top. Svenska Spel was used by 63% as their preferred gambling platform. AB Trav och Galopp was trailing this by a long way, with just 17% of those surveyed preferring this service.

The private licensed operators were led by bet365. Despite this lead, the operator only accounted for 4% of gamblers, and Unibet followed with 3% of gamblers using their service.

Players in Sweden have mostly migrated to the licensed market, with 78% of gamblers saying they only used licensed sites to place bets. 4% of players have continued to bet on unlicensed sites, and 18% were unsure of whether their preferred operator has the appropriate certifications or not.

The majority of gamblers in Sweden play for entertainment. 62% of those surveyed stated that their main reason for gambling was for entertainment. The second biggest motivator for gamblers was to win big and 31% said that this was their primary goal with gambling. Finally, 30% said that the probability of a win was what encouraged them to gamble.

When it comes to selecting a preferred operator for gamblers in the country, the primary focus for players was security, with 40% of those surveyed stating that this was their main priority when choosing an operator. After this, 36% of gamblers said that they looked for operators that offered the most entertainment. In January of this year, the Swedish Gaming Act came into force. This regulated the online gambling market for the first time and as a result of this, 33% of gamblers surveyed said that knowing that an operator is licensed by Spelinspektionen is important to them.

For those who hadn’t gambled in the past year and those who had never gambled, 43% did not give a reason for not doing so. There was, however, 29% of this group who said that it was because they had never won when they gambled. Only 2% of people in these groups attributed their reluctance to gamble to gambling problems.

The survey also aimed to investigate the state of trust in the industry in Sweden. There were signs from the study that trust in the industry is declining. The survey revealed that 37% of players believe that operators are taking responsibility for protecting players, which has decreased from 40% last year. This is also an 8% drop from 2014.

Just 2% of players believed that they had gambled excessively in the past year, but this figure rose to 5% when respondents were asked whether their friends or family were gambling to excess. Additionally, players generally do not know where to go for help if they feel like their habit is spiraling out of control. The survey revealed that 78% of players were unaware of where to get help for gambling-related issues.

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