Sweden started the countdown to launching a regulated market when it unveiled its iGaming legislation at the end of December. In the first of a series of features looking at the market, we ask who will suffer and who will benefit?
The announcement came as something of a surprise and there are still several issues to be sorted out but Sweden’s operators have been preparing for a while. Back in 2012, Betsson and Unibet dominated the Nordic market to such an extent that it seemed like they were acquiring every emerging operator that threatened to challenge them.
But in recent years a new generation of independent operators have emerged to challenge the near-duopoly. Indeed, to the astonishment of many, LeoVegas has overtaken Betsson with a market cap of SEK9.87 billion (US$1.22 billion) to Betsson’s SEK8.18 billion (US$1 billion). It has achieved this with less than 500 staff, while Betsson employs around 1,900 people.
LeoVegas is arguably the most successful of Sweden’s second generation of gaming operators, which also includes the likes of Casumo, ComeOn, Mr Green and Vera&John. Now they have been joined by the likes of Videoslots and a revitalised Cherry in a wave of consolidation that has seen many of them expand overseas, while reinforcing their position at home with bigger and better offices in Sweden.
Sweden has been an incredibly prolific source of new and innovative operators and suppliers since Boss Media first emerged in 1996. With re-regulation and the accompanying licensing burden favouring larger operators, many are asking whether Videoslots will be the last small Swedish operator to make it big.
And the questions do not end there. From the future shape of monopoly operator Svenska Spel to the effect on Swedish companies’ home from home, Malta; in this article and over the coming weeks we will speak to the chief executives of many of these operators to find out just what to expect in the build up to, and aftermath of, the opening day of Sweden’s re-regulated market, January 1st, 2019.