Svenska Spel interim chief executive Marie Loob relishes regulated market competition

in Lottery

Svenska Spel interim chief executive Marie Loob has said that she is excited to compete against private gaming operators on an equal footing when Sweden introduces its new gambling regulations in January 2019. 

“We have shown that we are still strong amid tough competition, and that is possible to combine gaming entertainment with responsibility,” Loob said. “As the gaming company for all of Sweden, we look forward to finally competing on equal terms in the new gaming market after the turn of the year, and offering games that we and our customers have wanted for a long time.”

Her comments came alongside the operator’s results for the three months ended September 30th, in which Svenska Spel reported a 2.3% year-on-year decline in net gaming revenue to SEK2.13bn. 

This decline was blamed on the poor performance of its Casino Cosmopol and Vegas division, covering land-based casinos and video lottery terminals in restaurants and bingo halls. It saw net gaming revenue fall by 9.4% to SEK513m, largely as a result of a SEK56m decline in Vegas revenue.

However, net gaming revenue for the Sport and Casino business was up 3.5% to SEK470m. As Svenska Spel will only be able to launch its casino offering from January 2019, this revenue comes almost entirely from sports betting. The company said the World Cup helped drive a 22% increase in online sales, with mobile sales up 42% year-on-year. 

The vast majority of revenue came from Svenska Spel’s lottery division, which posted a marginal decline in revenue to SEK1.14bn. 

Operating costs for the quarter were up 3.9% to SEK715m. This included SEK29m of costs relating to preparations for the Swedish market re-regulation and complying with the European Union General Data Protection Regulations. Svenska Spel saw profit fall slightly to SEK1.18bn for the quarter. 

For the year to date, Svenska Spel reported a 1.6% drop in net gaming revenue to SEK6.50bn, with profit down 4.1% to SEK3.29bn.

Loob also spoke out in favour of more self-regulation in sports betting, calling on private operators to stop offering odds on low-level professional sports that could be targeted by match-fixers. 

“Protecting Swedish sports and responsible gambling must be more important than maximising revenue in the short-term,” she said. “We cannot rely on increasing the legal content offered by the gaming industry as long as the sector is unable to take such tough, but morally right, decisions.”

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