2021 outlook on the Nordics

April 16, 2021

When discussing the Nordic iGaming landscape, the primary distinction is between the regulated markets of Sweden and Denmark, and the monopolistic control that exists inNorway and Finland.


In general, we expect regulated markets to face ongoing scrutiny from political parties, the media and regulatory bodies – it’s part and parcel of a safe and competitive industry, especially in the Nordics.


You only need to look at the example of Denmark, where regulatory change is on the horizon, or neighbouring Sweden, where temporary COVID measures are set to expire on June30th. We always monitor new developments in the Nordic markets and beyond, keeping a close eye on regulatory changes.

 

We see it as a positive sign, for instance, that Swedish authorities are starting to treat black market clampdowns as a higher priority. Underground operators threaten tounder mine the licensing model in both Sweden and Denmark, which we in the regulated industry have pointed out repeatedly.

 

If regulation becomes so stringent that legal operators are not able to compete with unlicensed ones on price, then players will ultimately seek out the black-market options that offer better value for money. That means responsible gambling is diminished, and governments lose out on the taxation revenues provided by a legal industry.

 

Well-intentioned player protection measures are worth nothing if gamblers are turning away from the licensed market, and sensible measures such as self-exclusion tools lose their value. The only winners are underground operators.

 

We sincerely hope, therefore, that the relevant authorities are willing to engage in a dialogue with the industry about how we can create safe, regulated markets with a healthy degree of competition. Casinos and sportsbook should be able to offer players high-quality products at a fair price, to prevent them from seeking the illegal alternatives that just don’t offer the same level of protection.

 

Within the region’s monopolized markets, for obvious reasons we are hoping for a shift in the

mindset of local and national politicians, with a more forward-thinking approach to gambling now

long overdue.

 

The licensing system used in Sweden andDenmark would certainly constitute a more modern

approach, so we welcome the calls made by the Norwegian Industry Association for Online

Gaming for a more open regime.

 

As the Association notes, contemporary problems require contemporary solutions, and dogmatically

sticking to an outdated model is not the right approach. The purpose of a monopolised industry is to

ensure a consistent standard of player protection, but when more than half of Norway-based

players are using the black-market, it’s high time for a rethink.

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