$2.67bn/£2.00bn/ SEK26bn total gaming revenue for 2021, which is a 5% increase when compared to the numbers of the revenue report in 2020. Interestingly, the same can be said for 2020 as well, when the revenue report by Spelinspektionen revealed quite similar numbers with 2019, the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This brings us to the conclusion that in spite of everything that is happening in the world, as well as on domestic soil, Sweden definitely does something right when it comes to online gambling.
New deposit limit for Swedish online players
One of the things about Sweden's gaming revenue that truly baffles the experts is that despite imposing a SEK5000 deposit limit ($508/464/383) that lasted until November of 2021, the revenue from online gambling in the country was still up by 6%. And have in mind, this is while operating in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, as well as increasing inflation.
Furthermore, the Spelinspektionen also reported SEK53.1m solely from taxing online gambling operators, which is considered the income gathered from conducting supervisory and control obligations. When compared with 2020, there is a 0.8% increase in revenue from levies. Yet, more revenue usually means more spending, and as a result, the costs for performing these 'services' are also up to SEK43.4m, or a not so small spike of 39.1%.
More than SEK7 million in aplication fees
In addition, the Spelinspketionen also reported SEK7.3m from application fees alone. However, considering that Sweden's gambling regulator reported SEK21.5m in expenses from processing the said fees, the toll amounts to SEK14.2m. Moreover, the gaming authority also reported SEK13.7m revenue from penalty fees, which is a 25.7% increase than in 2020. As a result of the growing iGaming scene in Sweden, there is a noticeable increase in license applications during 2021, especially towards the end of the year.
In particular, the Spelinspektionen revealed processing 622 license applications for 2021, which is exactly 104 more than the total number of 518 applications in 2020. Out of this amount, the regulator accepted 287 applications and rejected eight, leaving about half of the applicants wondering whether they will eventually be approved in 2022. As a result, towards the end of December in 2021, Sweden reported a total of 2.252 officially approved licenses in its iGaming community.
Due to the fact that a huge chunk of the total applications was submitted in the final months of 2021, most of the decisions and approvals concerning the applicants were conducted at the beginning of 2022, which is why the number of decisions is substantially lower than the number of applications during that period of time. From here, Spelinspektionen reports total revenue of SEK74.2m for 2021, which is a 0.9% increase when compared to 2020.
2021 was a rather busy year for Sweden's main gambling authority from a legal standpoint as well. That is due to the total number of 24 active injunctions that Spelinspektionen issued for the entire 2021. Out of the 24, 8 directives were aimed against foreign operators, accused of illegally targeting players from Sweden. Moreover, the regulator also rescinded 7 former directives, after it deemed that the suspicious operators stopped offering services to Swedish players. Finally, the Spelinspektionen reports revoking a previously blocked payment order, which according to the report, was denied due to the liquidation of the company in question.
The final part of the official report by the Spelinspektionen reveals an increase in players that registered with Sweden's national self-exclusion program, Spelpaus. If we compare this number with the numbers from 2020, there is an increase of 11.000 players, or up from 60.000 in the previous year. Out of the total number of self-exclusions in Sweden, 25% were female, while 75% were male players.
Finally, the report by the Spelinspektionen is specifically for revenue obtained from online gambling alone. The only information regarding land-based operators is that pretty much every sector is reporting low numbers, including Sweden's lottery giant Svenska Spel and its land-based casino brand, Casino Cosmopol. And that while slot machine sales and state lottery are reporting an increase of 6% in 2021, Svenska Spel's land-based operations are suffering on pretty much every front.
This brings us to the logical conclusion that ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, online gambling is noticing nothing but exponential growth throughout the globe, regardless of the department. As a result, Sweden, who needless to say managed to maintain a steady and prosperous iGaming ecosystem despite all setbacks in the past year, should serve as the example for every country that seeks to establish a properly regulated online gambling market.