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Online gambling traffic to unlicensed websites from Sweden has grown more than tenfold since 2019, according to a new report from AB Trav och Galopp (ATG).

The report describes a “dramatic increase” in traffic to unlicensed operators since the launch of Sweden’s regulated online gambling market in 2019.

Channelisation decreasing

Since 2019, the rate of channelisation in the regulated market has been decreasing, according to ATG.

The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has a stated channelisation target of 90%, while the actual rate in Q3 2023 was calculated by ATG to be between 70% and 82%.

Those figures are based on certain estimates relating to the value of black market traffic.

The lower end of the estimated channelisation rate is based on an assumption that the average spend per visit is 20x higher with unlicensed operators than with licensed ones, while the higher end is based on a multiple of 10x.

Those estimates, combined with the number of visitors accessing unlicensed operators from Sweden, led ATG to conclude that Sweden’s unlicensed online gambling market is worth between SEK3.4bn and SEK6.7bn annually.

Average channelisation rates were calculated across verticals. In sports betting, channelisation was estimated to be higher, at between 78% and 88%, while in online casino it was thought to be much lower, between 59% and 74%.

Visitor numbers growing

This chart from the report shows the number of visitors to unlicensed casinos growing rapidly since the launch of Sweden’s regulated market.

Crucially, ATG said, during the temporary period of stricter rules introduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic (July 2020 to November 2021), traffic to unlicensed operators tripled.

The report therefore suggests that stricter measures introduced to protect Swedish citizens from gambling harms could have led to a significant drop in channelisation rates.

Among the most highly-visited websites in Q3 were several owned and operated by Malta-based Infiniza Limited.

According to industry sources earlier this year, Infiniza was the only online casino operator linked with new payment provider Finshark, which was thought to be enabling money transfers between Swedish customers and unlicensed gambling operators.

That revelation caused some controversy, as it followed on from a previous directive from the SGA ordering payment provider Zimpler to discontinue offering a similar service.

Of the top 20 most-visited unlicensed operators in ATG’s report, six were operated by Infiniza, including unlimitcasino.com, refuelcasino.com, goldroll.com and spinero.com.

Another operator, North Point Management Ltd, accounted for a further five of the top 20 most visited unlicensed brands from Sweden.

Other operators on the list included Red Rhino Ltd (platincasino.com), Brivio Ltd (gg.bet), BP Group Ltd (justspin.com), Hitz Gaming OU (winnerz.com), Oring Ltd (twin.com), Mozzart LLC (mozzartbet.com) and TechSolutions Group NV (22bet.com).

Together, the top five operators listed account for more than half of the measured traffic in the report. Their levels of traffic can be seen increasing sharply since each entered the market.

ATG conclusions

“The results of our quarterly surveys are alarming and indicate that a significant percentage of problem gamblers in Sweden are linked to unlicensed gambling sites,” said ATG CEO Hasse Lord Skarplöth (pictured).

“Our investigation shows the weakness of the current regulatory framework and how difficult it is to keep the unlicensed companies away.

“As long as it pays for gambling companies to act without permission in the Swedish gambling market, we do not have consumer protection to be proud of.”

Skarplöth concluded: “ATG will do what we can to help ensure that the fight against the unlicensed gambling companies continues day by day, month by month.”

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