Data created by the customer-first affiliate company Bonusfinder.com suggests that nearly a third of Swedish players are looking for ‘unlicensed casinos’ online, with that numbers increasingly turning to black-market brands due to the stringent gaming regulations on the market.
Research conducted by Bonusfinder has tracked the Swedish market since January 2019, when re-regulated. It showed a increase in Swedish players searching for keywords in a black-market community.
The study states that up to “30 percent of players have searched for terms such as ‘unlicensed casino’.” In fact, the study goes on to note that the stringent limitations on licenced operators are forcing players to hunt for and “convert” to unlicensed black market products.
Bonusfinder.com’s Managing Director, Fintan Costello said: “Instead of misguidedly declaring phase one of Swedish legislation a ‘success’ regulators should be focusing on the rising proportion of players searching for ‘unlicensed’ brands.
“Equally concerning is that newly regulating markets such as Germany appear to be ignoring their mistakes. There is no regulated market on earth that is proposing such damaging rules, and we would urge them to take heed of Sweden’s rapid plunge toward encouraging unlicensed activity.”
German lawmakers have recently adopted legislation to legalise online poker and casino from 1 July 2021 with strict measures including a € 1 slot per spin stake limit, no auto play and no jackpots while casino games must be sold separately for table games.
Costello also added: “This should serve as a real warning for German lawmakers who have plenty of time to alter their proposals to benefit and protect players and to ensure their newly regulated framework is commercially successful.
“At Bonusfinder.com we aim to give players more choice, presenting them with all the options before they commit to gambling on specific sites.
“Our aim is to help people ‘play with more’ in a safe environment. Our core principles are built on a common sense approach to regulation that involve honest and open conversations between regulators, operators, affiliates and players.
“This is exactly the approach German regulators should be taking.”
According to the Swedish regulator’s latest official report, 91% of gambling is carried out by licenced operators in a market worth more than € 1,2bn.
Research data from H1 Gambling Capital estimates the ‘channelisation’ strategy of Sweden towards licenced sites to be 85%, but according to Bonusfinder it reveals that approximately one third of Swedish players are being redirected to unlicensed brands with 70% of players using legal casinos.
One major operator in Germany, on condition of anonymity, reported that potential licenced brands could see casino revenues falling by up to 70 percent with many players flocking to black market sites if regulators passed restrictive regulations.
“With the 16 Federal States in Germany approving the new gambling regulation everyone was anticipating a regulated and safe gambling environment for online and land-based players in Germany.
“The strict policies in the new Interstate Treaty on Gambling, however, will force players and operators into illegal channels and, if this goes ahead, the market with the biggest potential in Europe will have lost its opportunity.
“For many operators revenues will drop by 60 to 70 per cent and on top of that taxes and fees will make this licence unattractive.”