Despite the harsh laws governing the gambling industry, the Swedes are still very active gamblers. Most of the gambling is done online, as reports show, compared to physically, and this is where the structure begins to crack. As a leading swedish gambling site Svenska Casino Guide reports, the largest betting provider is Svenska Spel, and although it does have an online presence, most Swedish gamblers prefer the offshore betting companies which have better digital platforms and odds.
However, how could this turn the average gambler to an online trader over time? That comes down to the similarity of the 2 practices.
How gambling and some forms of trading are similar
There are different markets in which someone can trade, but the one that resembles gambling the most is the binary options market. There are different types of trades you can make with binary options, but the most common is the high/low. This trade involves attempting to predict whether the value of a currency, stock, commodity or other financial instrument will be higher or lower than its current value within a specified period. A correct prediction provides a predetermined payout while an incorrect prediction means the whole margin is lost.
This is exactly what gambling is, at least for most types of games, and binary options trading is often compared to gambling. In fact, binary options brokers based in the UK are licensed by the Gambling Commission rather than the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Given the close similarity to gambling, it is foreseeable that a gambler could turn into a binary options trader if given the opportunity.
How the swedes could turn to trading
As for Sweden, the gambling laws are very restrictive as mentioned earlier. This has forced most swedes use foreign gambling providers, even though the law does not allow it. Even though the law is rarely enforced, any Swedish gambler using a foreign gambling provider has to jump through hoops to participate. For example, some gambling companies do not accept the Swedish krona, thus the gamblers have to exchange currencies, which could fluctuate and lead to inconsistencies.
There had been hope this year that the Swedish government would finally allow foreign gambling companies to acquire licenses and operate in the country, but this did not happen. The former head of Sweden’s Gambling Regulatory Authority (Lotteriinspektionen), Hakan Hallstedt, stepped down in January to become a judge. He had been considered by the heads of several prominent foreign gambling companies as a reformist who would push for liberalization of Sweden’s gambling industry, but now the momentum is lost. The government seems not to be in a hurry to remove the monopolization, and the Swedish courts denied an appeal by a foreign company seeking a license.
On the other hand, online trading is allowed in Sweden, and many brokers in Europe market to the swedes. Since Sweden is in the EU, Forex brokers under MiFID regulation can sign up Swedish traders. Given the close similarity between gambling and trading, plus the laws against the former, it is certainly foreseeable that Swedish gamblers could opt for trading in future.
In addition, pressure is on from the EU, and although the Swedish government is still reluctant to change its stance on gambling, change may be on its way soon. If this change were to come within the next 10 years, then perhaps Swedish gamblers may not turn to trading. Otherwise, it seems to be a natural fit.