Regulated Online Gambling Industry in Denmark

Denmark’s gambling market was partially liberated from government monopoly in 2012 with the introduction of the Gambling Act. Since 1948, state-owned Danske Spil was the sole operator in charge of hosting a range of games of chance like bingo, keno, lottery, and other instant games.

However, the Danes’ old rules were deemed too stringent as sports betting and online casinos became globally popular. This forced the authorities to modernise the regulations while ensuring player safety and promoting responsible gambling practices.

An Overview of Denmark’s Gambling Laws

While Denmark predominantly had a monopoly on gambling, the new legislation introduced numerous changes. The keynotes include:

  1. Provider players a free, fair, and responsible gambling environment.
  2. Promoting gambling while restricting addictive behaviour.
  3. Preventing youngsters from being influenced by gambling from a young age.
  4. Prohibiting criminals from using gambling as an avenue for illicit activities.

The legislators split the Gaming Act into several sections to help narrow down the focus. Part 1 deals with the scope and purpose of the Act, and Part 2 defines the terms of the regulation. Part 3 deals with the variety of licenses being offered, and Part 4 describes the criteria for providing gambling services in Denmark.

Part 5 states the rules for sales, marketing, and duty of disclosure, and Part 6 discusses the requisites for employing managers and staff at physical venues. The Danish Gaming Authority is in charge of overseeing the market.

The Act also mentions how exchanging information between the DGA and the government is supposed to flow. The penalties associated with defying the norms are also explained in the legislation.

Current State of the Danish Gambling Industry

The Danish Gambling Authority is presently in charge of regulating, monitoring, and controlling all gambling activities in the nation. Denmark’s Ministry of Taxation handles issues related to the country’s legislation or the European Union. The Danish Tax Authority (SKAT) oversees the gambling duties collected and is outside the purview of the DGA.

All operators located within the sovereign borders of Denmark are subject to the laws of the land. According to law, the borders quickly fade for online casinos as offshore operators that aren’t licensed to provide their services in Denmark are illegal. However, blocking access to such websites is easier said than done as they’re hosted outside the jurisdiction of the State.

While the authorities have blocked and blacklisted numerous online casinos, a permanent solution is yet to be found. A bunch of secondary Executive Orders compliment the Gambling Act. These include numbers 65 to 67 and 1301 to 1304.

The first three cover land-based betting operations, online casinos, and online sports betting. The latter governs charitable lotteries, land-based casinos, gaming machines located within physical venues, and the compensation rates for certain games.

Certain amendments were made to the DGA over the years. While the first public consultation regarding updated technical documents and certifications was scheduled in March 2014, a second chance proposing the inclusion of online casinos in Denmark was scheduled in September of the same year. The Ministry of Taxation signed the amendments in December 2014, validating the executive orders.

As of 2021, Denmark has 8 active brick-and-mortar casinos, including two aboard ferries. The DGA accepted new licensing applications till January 2021, while a new land-based venue is supposed to come up in Copenhagen by the end of the year. The new licenses are valid for the next 10 years.

Online Gambling in Denmark

The Danish online gambling market was closed to foreign operators till 2008. With the government’s proposed changes, online casinos set up shop in the country for the first time in 2012. Since the market was regulated, punters have rested easy as there is no fear of getting duped by unscrupulous platforms.

Players can still sign up for unregulated offshore platforms if they wish. However, we strongly advise against such practices as it’s unsafe and highly illegal. Denmark’s new gambling regulations focus extensively on gambling responsibly. The strict vetting process helps players rest assured when signing up for a new casino.

Most online casinos in Denmark offer a long list of popular casino games like poke, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, video slots, and more. However, the government still holds exclusive rights over sports betting operations, bingo, keno, and other instant games. Moreover, online casinos can’t host poker tournaments.

Every potential operator must apply for a license with the DGA, which is valid for five years. The operator must meet a few requisites before being allowed to offer their services in the country. For instance, online casinos must share their database with the government, stored in a Security System.

Summarising Denmark’s Regulated Gambling Industry

Despite the Gambling Act allowing foreign casinos access to Denmark’s lucrative gambling industry, state-owned Danske Spil still holds the exclusive right to organise horse racing, lottery, bingo, keno, and instant games.

This is important because 33% of Danish gamblers bet on lotteries, making it one of the biggest earners for the government. This is closely followed by sports betting at 26% and online casinos at 24%. So, by controlling the two most profitable sections of the industry, the government doesn’t have much to lose.

Moreover, excessive taxes on the remaining section of the industry ensures the government doesn’t lose a significant portion of the revenue. While land-based casinos are taxed 45%, gaming machines outside casinos are charged 41%, while online casinos must shell out 20% of their revenue.

Illegal operators have it even worse. Those found guilty of running unregulated casinos in Denmark attract heavy penalties along with a prison sentence, or both. The Gambling Act explicitly states that anyone making a living out of gambling operations without applying for a license may be fined.

Although the extent of the punishment isn’t specified, this law applies only to the operators. Citizens can sign up for illegal casinos without attracting penalties. But, user discretion is advised.

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