What distinguishes Sweden’s high-staking gamblers from the rest?
June 7th, 2023, Oliver Rowe

What distinguishes Sweden’s high-staking gamblers from the rest?

Gamblers who stake more than kr6,000 each month make up a small slice, just 10%, of all monthly gamblers in Sweden (excluding those who only play lotteries). In this piece, we examine who these ‘high-staking bettors’ are, their betting preferences and what motivations fuel their betting behaviour.

The demographics

Relative to Swedish gamblers who stake lower amounts each month, the high-staking bettors have a similar gender split (around two thirds male, one third female) but are a significantly younger cohort. While 71% of monthly gamblers are men, those aged 18-44 make up 84% of the high-staking cohort, but only 43% of lower staking gamblers.

Income data also shows that high-staking bettors are nine percentage points likelier to belong to the higher-income group (defined as more than 200% of the median) than lower staking gamblers (55% vs 46%).

What do they bet on?

High-staking bettors are just as likely as lower staking bettors to have bet on sports online in the past month. One third (33%) of both groups have bet on sports online versus 26% of lower stakers, but when we look at offline betting we find 32% of higher stakers have bet on horse racing at a track or store compared with only 16% of lower stakers, and likewise there is a split for general offline sports betting at a bookmakers (29% vs 13%). Higher stakers are also less likely to play a lottery either online (12% vs 26%) or offline (18% vs 27%), or to buy scratch cards.

Away from sports, high-staking bettors over-index on nearly all other major betting categories. They are far more likely to have played casino slots (27% vs 14%) and also table and other card games online (27% vs 14%). They are also significantly more likely to have played online poker (26% vs 14%), skill games (22% vs 10%). Other area of interest for higher stakers are online live streaming casino game shows (6% vs 2%), streaming casino table games (5% vs 2%), esports (14% vs 4%), and financial spreadbetting (14% vs 4%).

Which online bookmakers do they use, and how to they select one?

Looking at the online betting sites they use, the most used site is Svenska Spel where 24% of higher stakers say they used it in the past week but this is much less than the 54% of lower stakers. The proportions are similar for ATG (15% vs 35%). When we look across the other major brands we find that the higher stakers over-index on them all, in particular bet365 (14% vs 7%), Unibet (13% vs 8%) and LeoVegas (12% vs 5%), but this is not so much the case with Postkodlotteriet (7% vs 8%) or Bingolotto (8% vs 5%).

When it comes to how high and low stakers pick an online betting provider, for higher stakers having fun comes top (35% vs 21%) and caring about customer wellbeing is second (34% vs 25%), ahead of having th best promotions (31% vs 11%). Having the widest selection of slots/games (28% vs 15%) and wide range of different gambling types also over index for higher stakers (28% vs 19%).

Which sports do they bet on?

Looking at the type of sports bet on reveals that while high-staking bettors under-index quite significantly on football (33% vs 49% of lower stakers), and to an extent also with horse racing (20% vs 26%) and ice hockey (24% vs 26%), they are more likely to have bet on almost every other sport in the past 12 months.

This includes tennis (24% vs 8%), boxing (18% vs 4%), handball (17% vs 8%), basketball (16% vs 6%), and esports (15% vs 5%) among others.

What fuels their betting choices?

Almost half of high-staking bettors say they only use betting sites that offer loyalty schemes (49%), significantly higher than the quarter of lower staking bettors (24%). But the attraction towards loyalty schemes does not keep high spenders tethered to one bookmaker – more than half of them agree they “like to try new gambling/betting sites that I’ve not come across before” (58% vs 23%).

Also they are more likely to be attracted by the offer of a free bet than lower staking players with 51% agreeing compared with 22% of lower stakers.

Methodology: data is taken from YouGov’s Global Gambling Profiles tool which interviewed a representative sample of 2,615 regular gamblers in November 2021, April 2022 and November 2022. Fieldwork was completed online and all respondents are members of YouGov’s Swedish panel of survey respondents.