Svenska Spel maintains state dividend despite revenue fall

Svenska Spel expects its performance to recover.
Svenska Spel expects its performance to recover.

Svenska Spel’s full-year revenue fell 1 per cent year-on-year.

Sweden.- The state-controlled gambling operator Svenska Spel has reported full-year 2022 revenue of SEK 8bn (€722m), a drop of 1 per cent year-on-year. However, with underlining profits of SEK 1.99bn, the operator will still match its 2021 state dividend of SEK 2bn (€155m).

Revenue was affected by stricter customer compliance controls at Sports & Casino and Vegas retail venues, causing operating profits to drop by 3 per cent to SEK 2.38bn. The World Cup failed to help pick things up, with the Qatar World Cup generating “lower customer interest than previous championships, partly because of the timing, partly because the Swedish national team did not qualify.”

The operator noted that the World Cup also meant a break in many regular national football leagues, hampering the offering of its betting products Stryktipset, Europatipset and Toptipset. However, Svenska Spel said it expected financial performance to recover quickly, partly thanks to the revamp of its TUR lottery business’s products.

President and CEO Patrik Hofbauer said: “I am happy that the board intends to propose a dividend of SEK 2bn to the owner. That our surplus goes back to the Swedish people is one of the reasons why we are all of Sweden’s gaming company.

‘In the 25 years that Svenska Spel has existed, together with our customers, we have contributed over SEK 100bn to the state treasury.”

Calls for Svenska Spel breakup

The Swedish online gambling trade association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel has repeated its calls for Svenska Spel to be broken up. It’s pushing for the government to call time on the state-controlled gambling operator this year.

BOS secretary general, Gustaf Hoffstedt, wrote an op-ed for Sweden’s most important newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, last month, in which he argued that Svenska Spel does not have the remit to offer commercial gambling, that is sports betting and online casino gaming as well as its lottery operations.

BOS argues that Svenska Spel is an anomaly in Sweden’s regulated gambling market, which opened up to private competition in 2019. Svenska Spel operates the national lottery and keno gaming as a state monopoly but also competes with private companies in the sports betting and casino gaming verticals. For BOS this goes against the need for a “fundamental distinction between being the legislator and rule setter”. 

Earlier this month, the Swedish broadcasting regulator upheld BOS’s complaint against Svenska Spel’s gaming segment on Sweden’s TV4. The recurring broadcast would see guests play Svenska Spel keno and scratchcard products, which BOS said should be considered gambling advertising.

The regulator has agreed, noting that Svenska Spel had violated the law by not offering any consumer protection.

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