The Kingdom of Denmark is a Scandinavian country whose territory stretches over the Jutland peninsula in Northern Europe. The country is home to a population of 5.8 million residents. It boasts a healthy economy that relies predominantly on the social services, manufacturing, and trading sectors. Danish nationals get to enjoy very high standards of living as well as free health care and education.
The high standards of living and the stable market economy have paved the way for a thriving gambling industry that is governed by a modern and comprehensibly written legislation. The country is home to eight landbased casinos, located in major cities like Copenhagen, Odense (Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace), Helsingor, Aarhus, and Aalborg. Visitors get to enjoy a broad selection of casino games such as slots, poker, craps, roulette, blackjack, and punto banco.
The online gambling market was liberalized on Danish soil in 2012, following the implementation of the Danish Gambling Act. The interactive gaming sector has been thriving ever since. According to the local regular, the Danish Gambling Authority, the online segment boasted a 24% market share of the industry as of 2019, with a gross gaming revenue (GGR) of DKK2.3 billion.
By contrast, the landbased sector is struggling with a meager market share of 3% and humble gross gaming revenue of DKK349 million. Danish players have a decent choice of locally authorized online casinos, more than forty, in fact. Those who gamble recreationally with unlicensed offshore operators are not financially penalized or imprisoned.
Laws Governing Landbased Gambling in Denmark
The Danish Gambling Act regulates both virtual and brick-and-mortar gambling in the country. The legislation was approved at the beginning of June 2010 but came into force on the 1st of January, 2012. Its primary purpose was to further the modernization of the local gambling market.
Some of the provisions of the Act are intended to maintain a moderate level of gambling participation in the country and ensure Danish players have access to a transparent, safe, and fair gaming environment. Others aim to prevent the use of gambling for the purposes of supporting crime.
Landbased tournament backgammon, private gambling for nominal prizes, and speculating with the future value of financial instruments are all outside the scope of this legislation. Part 2 of the Danish Gambling Act sheds some light on the legal definitions of gambling and explains which game types are permitted under local law. This section of the bill distinguishes between several types of legal wagering – lotteries, combination games, class lotteries, betting and pool betting, gambling machines, online and landbased gambling.
The Act defines the category of lotteries as all activities where prizes can be won and the outcomes are determined solely by chance. By contrast, combination games are those where there is still an element of chance but the skills of the participants can influence the outcomes. The pool betting category comprises wagers where the prizes, partially or in whole, depend on the overall size of the stakes pool. The prizes in such cases are shared between winning players.
Class lotteries are those that are divided into several classes, with each one having its own drawing. The categories of gaming machines, online gambling and landbased gambling are pretty much self-explanatory.
Also outlined are the licensing procedures for each individual category of permitted games but we shall tackle this subject a little later on. Skill games, where there are prizes but no chance is involved in determining the outcome, are not covered by the Act and do not require the issuance of special permits. Some examples include chess, some computer games, and quizzes.
Apart from this, the gambling sector in the country is also governed by the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Licensed gambling games are additionally covered by some of the provisions of the Danish Gambling Duties Act. The latter establishes the different taxation rates based on whether the relevant gaming products are offered in virtual or online casinos.
Also worth mentioning is the fact the Danish gaming sector is only partially liberalized for the time being. The provision of wagering on sports competitions where animals are involved is reserved exclusively for Denmark’s national lottery operator, Danske Spil. The operator also holds a monopoly over the provision of commercial lotteries in the country.
Online Gambling Regulations in Denmark
The online gambling segment in Denmark also falls under the regulatory scope of the Danish Gambling Act of 2012. Operators who seek to service Danes legally are expected to have a valid license issued by the Danish Gambling Authority. The interesting thing here is accepting online bets without a locally issued license is not considered contrary to Denmark’s law but only on condition the operator does not explicitly target Danish players.
Gambling operators on the Danish market can apply for several types of licenses, depending on the services they seek to offer. Those looking to penetrate the landbased market can apply either for a casino license or a limited permit that would allow them to operate gaming machines only.
Taxes on Gambling Operators
The Government Plans a Tax Hike for 2021
The gambling taxes in Denmark are based on the gross gaming revenue, or GGR, which is calculated by subtracting the winnings paid to players from the overall amount they have wagered with a given operator. At the present moment, poker, online casinos, and betting exchanges (both virtual and brick-and-mortar) are taxed at a rate of 20% of their gross gaming revenue.
Landbased casinos are subject to twice as high taxes of 45% of their GGR. If the GGR exceeds DKK4.087 million, the excess is taxed with an additional 30%. A 41% tax applies to the GGR of the gaming machines operated in restaurants and similar public spaces.
The costs associated with promotional incentives, such as free spins and welcome bonuses, are not deducted during the calculation of the gross gaming revenue since they are not viewed as actual profits for the patrons. With that in mind, the local government unveiled plans to raise the taxes on online gambling operators under the new provisions of the 2020 Finance Act.View more...
Legal Gambling Age and Protection of Vulnerable Players
Denmark-approved operators must verify the age of each player to ensure minors are not granted access to any gambling products. Danish nationals can legally participate in the allowed forms of gambling but only on condition they are 18 years old or older.
According to Article 34 of the Danish Gambling Act (page 8), the “acceptance of stakes in gambling activities from persons under the age of 18 and other promotion of such persons’ participation in gambling activities is not permitted”.
Locally licensed online gaming providers must strictly monitor their customers’ behavior. People who struggle to control themselves can take advantage of cool-off periods. Also available is the option to sign up for the regulator’s Register of Voluntarily Excluded Players, abbreviated as ROFUS. The latter includes both online and terrestrial casinos, authorized to operate in the country.
Gamblers have a choice from several temporary exclusion periods – of 24 hours, a month, three months, or half a year. Of course, permanent self-exclusion is also possible. Keep in mind, though, entries in the registry are indeed permanent.
You will not be able to cancel your entry in ROFUS if you request permanent self-exclusion. All Denmark-licensed operators are part of the ROFUS database, so it will be impossible for you to register a new account or log into your existing one. It will be blocked as soon as you try.
Apart from ROFUS, problem gamblers from the Happiest Country in the World also have access to the StopSpillet helpline. It works with callers Monday through Thursday from 9:00 to 21:00 as well as on Friday from 9:00 to 17:00.
The helpline is staffed by well-trained professionals who can give problem gamblers free impartial guidance on how to deal with their addiction. The official StopSpillet website can also help such players to find free treatment centers across major Danish cities like Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, and Aalborg.
Last but not least, gambling debts are theoretically enforceable when one incurs them with a licensed operator. However, incurring them is technically impossible since the law prohibits authorized gaming firms from extending credit to their customers.
Rules on Advertising
Article 36 of the 2012 Danish Gambling Act is dedicated to the marketing of gambling services (page 8). Gambling advertising is permitted under local laws but only on condition the operators meet certain requirements. The promotional materials should present the winning odds accurately so that players are not left with the impression their chances of pocketing payouts are greater than they actually are.
The ads should not be designed in a way that might appeal to little children or individuals under 18 years old. No celebrities or public figures should be included in marketing campaigns. This might leave someone with the impression gambling has contributed to such persons’ success. Gambling should not be represented in a way that suggests it is a solution to people’s financial or social problems.
As for promotional incentives, their terms and conditions should be laid out clearly and in an unambiguous fashion. Bonus conditions should be the same for all players. Customers must be granted 60 days or more to meet the promotional terms related to the payment of their bonuses.
Gambling Regulators in Denmark
The landbased and remote gambling sectors in Denmark are supervised by the Danish Gambling Authority (Spillemyndigheden). This regulatory entity was founded in 2000 and operated under the scope of the local Ministry of Taxation. Over the first ten years following its establishment, the body was mainly tasked with the supervision of slot machines operated in casinos, kiosks, restaurants, and other public spaces.
The organization was also mandated with the control of the terrestrial casinos in the country. After the introduction of the new Danish Gambling Act of 2012, the regulator was also tasked with the oversight and licensing of online gambling operators. Lotteries remained a monopoly of the state-owned Danske Lotteri Spil.
The Danish Gambling Authority is now an independent government entity whose main offices are located in the city of Odense. It has approximately 100 employees at the moment of writing. Apart from issuing permits, the Authority must ensure a fair and secure gambling sector.
It analyzes the local market to provide unambiguous and comprehensible information. It also promotes responsible and regulated gambling. The regulator’s official website contains a complete list of locally licensed operators for Danish players to check.
Denmark boasts one of the most liberal, yet adequately regulated gambling markets in Europe. Previously subject to the monopoly of the state-owned Danske Spil, the industry is now open to foreign competition. Danes have a wide enough choice from over forty locally authorized betting operators, including established names like Videoslots, Unibet, LeoVegas, Mr. Green, Casumo, 888 Limited, Betway, and Betfair.
Among the most recent developments on the Danish gambling scene is the tax hike on online casino operators, planned for 2021. It aims to generate more revenue for the country’s education and health care sectors but may drive some of the current licensees away from the Danish market.