A History Of Denmark's Gambling
Sports betting is one of the most popular of all legalized gaming. A few of the most popular sports betting options are football, horse racing and even pigeon races. Danes currently have a great number of options to gamble including online poker. Denmark is really emerging into the modern world of online gambling, and it is something that King Frederick might not be too pleased with. Denmark has a long history dating as far back as 1753 when the King outlawed gambling. For over two centuries the only form of allowable games of chance was the lottery which was state run.
Prior to 1990, there was only one casino in Denmark, by special decree of the King, and primarily for the very affluent. Then, in 1990, a law was passed allowing for the Danish Ministry of Justice to license additional casinos. Currently there are six proper all inclusive land based casinos. In addition to Casino Aalborg, Royal Scandinavian Casino, Casino Copenhagen, Casino Marienlyst, Casino Odense, and Casino Munkebjerg Vejle are numerous dog-race tracks, horse race tracks, sports betting and access to online casinos and poker sites.
The most influential company in Denmark Gambling was Danske Spil, 80% of which was government owned, had a monopoly on all legal gambling in the country for many years. However, the government was facing pressure from the European Union (EU) to open up the market to other companies. While the government claimed that the gambling was for the benefit of the State and non-profit, the EU took the position that it was for profit because Denmark, in an effort to meet revenue quotas, allowed the betting to be advertised. The EU then brought the case to the European Court of Justice to decide the matter.
Meanwhile, the government was facing another problem with many foreign operators ignoring the law and not only accepting bets from Danes but also supporting their native language and currency to make the betting easier. The Danish authorities saw that they had no choice but to change the physical and online gambling laws.
In June, 2010, a new law, the Danish Gaming Act, was passed, opening up the door to other companies to offer gambling and also legalizing online gambling and taxing online casinos at a lower rate (20% of the gross gaming revenue) than land-based casinos (45% to 75%).Following a delay while waiting for approval from the European Commission, the law took effect on January 1, 2012.
Danske Spil still maintains its monopoly over lotteries, number games like keno and bingo, and horse racing. However, other companies were permitted to apply for licenses to offer other forms of gambling to the people of Denmark, including online poker, sports, and casino gambling. The government also transferred over the regulation of online gambling to the Danish Gaming Authority. During the first year that the law was in effect, the Danish Gambling Authority issued licenses to many operators, including several leading international firms like 888, Bwin, and Ladbrokes. In January, 2013, 25 of the operators had their licenses extended for another 5 years. The government also remained steadfast on keeping out unlicensed foreign sites and blacklisted 57 companies.
Casino and Online Gambling in Denmark Today
It is hard to believe that Denmark has fewer citizens than the population of New York City. The average income is only DKK 41,355, yet the total gambling revenue last year alone was 7.75 Billion DKK. That is equivalent to $1.1 Billion USD. Overall there has been a 3% increase in gambling revenue in the last 3 years. While the overall population is relatively small in comparison, they hold their own in physical and online gambling investments. Maybe that is why they can be ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world.
All six land-based casinos, which are licensed by the Danish Ministry of Justice, are likewise scattered throughout the country. The minimum gambling age is 18. However, Denmark is considering lowering the legal gambling age to 16, which would be one of the lowest ages for gambling in Europe.
Poker is also extremely popular, undoubtedly spurred by the accomplishments of Danish pro poker player Gus Hansen. Big poker sites like PartyPoker receive a lot of play. Accordingly, it is somewhat of a surprise that the revenue for online poker in the past year actually showed a decline.
One possible factor contributing to the decline in poker was that many professional and higher stakes players did not wait around for the new gambling law to take effect in Denmark, but moved elsewhere where the online playing environment was already more welcoming. In addition, the foreign operators were passing along some of the extra expenses they had to incur in taxes to the players by taking a bigger share of the rake. Meanwhile, other forms of online gambling are doing well and online poker will continue with the hope it will bounce back.
Problem Gambling in Denmark
Ever since the introduction of Lotto in 1988, problem gambling in Denmark has been on the rise. Even so, the prevalence of problem gambling in Denmark is significantly lower than in many other countries, including other Scandinavian countries.
A recently published study of the prevalence of physical and online gambling in Denmark compared the results of a survey taken by two large random samples of people age 16 and up. The first set of data were obtained in 2005 and the second in 2010.
To predict the number of future problematic gamblers a study was conducted on school aged children. The prevalence of the behaviors that go hand in hand with adult gambling addicts was reflected in that of school aged children, most particularly in boys, leading one to believe that it is predominantly a masculine phenomena. To support that universal theory it was discovered that one way to motivate young boys to read more was to present reading as a competitive game. The boys questioned in the initial study in Denmark shared that the main reasons that they would partake in games of chance was that it was a way to 1) win money 2) socialize 3) have fun.
Help Is Available
One place where individuals in Denmark with a gambling problem can receive help is the Research Clinic on Gambling Disorders. Patients can be referred by a physician or they or their family can contact the clinic directly. Treatment is on an outpatient basis. The facility also conducts research on the prevention of pathological gambling.
Denmark is holding their own with their other Scandinavian neighbors and the EU which is becoming predominant force with both land based and online betting. It is believed that as the demand for more online gambling outlets and opportunity for revenue that there will be a continued pattern of growth in all areas and 2017 may just be a big enough year in the gambling industry to affect changes that could ultimately boost Denmark's desire to grab ahold of the revenue potential.