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Gambling Advertising May be Getting Out of Hand in Sweden

Published by on November 21, 2019

Author: Johan H.

Ever since the boom in online poker or what people refer to as the ”Moneymaker effect” we have seen the interest for initially poker but more recently casino and sports betting increase drastically.

The reason why its called the ”Moneymaker effect” is that, in 2003, an accountant by the name of Chris Moneymaker managed to win a World Series of Poker Main event buy-in, valued at $10,000 through an $82 satellite online. He would then end up winning the entire thing, walking away with a first prize of a cool $2,5 million.

With all this attention and the boom a fact, we saw gambling companies starting up left and right and with that came their advertising. At first, it was pretty ok, as at that point there were tons of money involved, which resulted in massive promotions.

But over the years, the revenue has slowed down in growth, markets have become saturated while we still see new brands popping up, especially within the online casino business. As its a very fierce competition, the operators are forced to do everything they can to attract valuable customers, not only through organic traffic with the help of SEO but also through paid advertising and other marketing effort.

Sweden is a prime example of this, where TV-viewers now are bombarded with all kinds of advertising. This could be anything from playing on slots, placing a bet on the NBA free picks 2020 or participating in any of the massive online and live poker events that are arranged each year.

During 2018 the country saw a massive increase in gambling-related advertising, which was the largest advertising category that year. 7.2 % of all the advertising shown that year was related to gambling. With the new regulation that took effect as of Jan 1, 2019 it was expected that this type of advertising would be reduced but we saw the exact opposite.

The first month of 2019 saw an increase of 80 % in gambling-related advertising, and the category went from having 7.2 % of the market to now having 11,7 %. It´s not surprising that so many Swedes are fed up with this, as they now see this type of ads where ever they turn, both online and in print media.

The companies that run these ads do so as they are getting paid to do it, and the amount of money spent on these types of ads is ludicrous. During 2018, the gambling companies together spent roughly 7,5 billion Swedish crowns or around $750 million and that’s a massive chunk of change for these companies, who always look at the bottom line.

The question that the Swedish authorities now are asking is if this type of advertising should be allowed. Especially now as the target base that the advertisers are focusing on isnt the gambling lovers or those possessing prior knowledge of the games but instead the younger generation and especially females as they want to reach individuals who don´t necessarily have an interest in either sports or gambling.

This has resulted in that the Swedish Consumer Agency, ”konsumentverket” now has started to review more and more of these different advertisers and they have found that many of them don’t follow the guidelines and rules that came into effect in January 2019.

The biggest issues they have found are how bonus offers are presented, how winnings are exaggerated and in general how some information is missing or misleading.

This has already resulted in hefty fines to several companies during 2019 and according to the “Konsumentverket” more will come before the year is over. Will this put a stop this intensive and even aggressive marketing? Maybe not, but hopefully it will not only reduce it but also change it so it doesn’t target the younger generation.

After all, the age limit to play real money games in Sweden is 18, just as it is with smoking and drinking in the pubs. You won’t see any alcohol or tobacco advertisement in media but gambling is allowed. It could be just a matter of time before they do a 180 and bans it altogether.

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