One of the most developed States in the European Union, Denmark, is the epitome of democracy, equality, and progress. Among the countless successful industries in the nation, online gambling takes centre stage. This isn’t much of a surprise, as gambling has always been a major source of revenue for the nation.
State-owned Danske Spil has historically had a monopoly on horse racing, keno, lottery operations, bingo, and instant games. Thus, preventing private companies from setting up shop. The Gambling Act regulates and oversees the local market.
Since 2012, the Danish authorities have used the updated regulations to maintain a tight hold over the industry. And the legislation regulates both online and land-based casinos. The strict regulation also means unlicensed operators are routinely banned from offering their services within the nation. Therefore, Danish punters are safeguarded against potentially dangerous websites.
Operating online or land-based casinos in Denmark is challenging as the taxes are on the higher side. But running illegal operations are even riskier as the owners have the risk of incurring heavy penalties or getting imprisoned if caught.
An Overview of Danish Gambling Laws
Denmark’s first regulated casino, Danke Spil, was established back in 1948. It hosted games of chance like bingo and lottery, a source of wholesome entertainment back in the day. The state-owned operator ran a monopoly business for decades as Danish law prevented private operators from setting up shop in the nation.
Over time, the citizens ramped up pressure on the government to modernise the law as gambling diversified. Casino games and sports betting was on the rise internationally. However, Danish punters were stuck with age-old keno, lotteries, and bingo. The displeasure quickly increased, and the government was blamed for the lack of vision.
Things started to look up in 2010 when the authorities decided to frame new regulations to modernise the industry. The updated legislation was put into motion in 2020, which liberated the market from a government monopoly, and private players could finally enter the coveted Danish market.
While the Danke Spil still held the exclusive rights to host lottery games, bingo, instant games, and horse racing, private players were allowed to operate online casinos in Denmark. And the Danish Gambling Authority, better known as Spillemyndigheden, was entrusted with overseeing the market.
Current State of Gambling in Denmark
The global gambling boom is evident in Denmark, too, as the number of licensed operators has increased over the last year. Punters now have access to tons of reputed Danish online casinos and can choose from various games.
State-owned Danske Spil has massively benefitted from the new regulations even though they no longer retain a monopoly on the industry. The authorities decided to split the business into two parts – Danske Licens Spil and Danske Lotteri Spil.
The introduction of the Gambling Act has also ensured player safety as scam-sites are regularly sieved and removed by the authorities. The law is quite strict and penalises offenders by slapping them with massive fines and prison sentences. Online casinos in Denmark need a license to operate.
However, online casinos must pay heavy taxes to continue offering their services. For instance, the operators must shell out 41% in taxes for running slot machines and 28% for online casino games. The figures seem astronomical when compared to other regulated markets.
Although Denmark has a regulated gambling industry, the number of Danish players is quite less than the European and global average.
Online Casino Sites in Denmark
There are two major categories of online casinos currently operational in Denmark. The first is licensed in the nation and pays all the required taxes. Signing up for such platforms is legal in Denmark, and the owners don’t attract a penalty. Moreover, such websites are safer as they have to adhere to the strict laws set up by the Gambling Act.
The second variety is offshore casinos that accept Danish players. These websites aren’t authorised to operate in the country and are considered illegal. However, the good news is that the authorities don’t penalise players from Denmark for signing up on such platforms.
While we still don’t recommend trusting these services due to safety reasons, several punters have played on unregulated casinos for a while without a hitch. Nonetheless, licensed casinos are safer and the best option for amateur punters.
Modern online casinos are mobile-friendly and can be accessed from various devices, including desktop, laptop, and smartphone. They use the latest technology, live casinos being a prime example, quickly gaining popularity in Denmark.
Future of Online Casinos in Denmark
The future of online gambling in Denmark is quite foggy. While the industry has been steadily expanding, high taxes are a reason for concern. Unless the authorities mitigate the expenses shortly, private operators will find it difficult to survive considering the limited sized market compared to other regulated markets.
According to the Danish Gambling Authority, Danes spend a lot less on gambling than their Nordic neighbours, which is already concerning. Further burdening the private operators with hefty taxes might not be the best decision at the moment. Land-based casino owners are currently taxed 45% of total revenue.
What’s Legal and What’s Not?
While the Danske Spil had a monopoly on the Danish gambling industry since the late 1940s, things changed in 2012 with the introduction of the Gambling Act. Although private players were granted access to the lucrative iGaming market, their services were limited to casino games like poker, slots, roulette, blackjack. However, independent operators aren’t allowed to host poker tournaments.
The Danish Gambling Authority is very strict with its responsible gambling policies and has set several regulations that the operators must follow. Here’s a summary of the changes:
1. The operators must create a fair environment for the punters and make sure they gamble responsibly.
2. They must mitigate gambling addiction by introducing self-imposing limits.
3. Operators are responsible for preventing and reporting illegal activities, including money laundering and related crime.
4. Preventing underage individuals from accessing the platforms.
Casino Licensing in Denmark
Casino licenses are broadly classified under online and land-based categories. The latter is further sub-classified under gambling machine and casinos. While gambling machines are more prevalent, the authorities maintain a tight grip over the casino operators.
Danish players can’t gamble on credit since gambling debts are illegal in Denmark. And the courts don’t take non-compliance very well. Back in 2018, an audit revealed 700 online casinos violated local laws. At the same time, a court in Copenhagen allowed the authorities to block 25 online casinos in violation of the DGA in 2019.
The DGA uses tools like blocking the internet, stopping payments, and advertisement bans to protect the government’s interests. And while the citizens are safe from enforcement action, casinos aren’t that lucky.
DNS blocking is commonplace if a website fails to comply with the guidelines. Illegal casinos are often blocked from being accessed in Denmark. The authorities have been a little less successful in blocking payments since Danes with overseas bank accounts continue to wager on offshore platforms while living in the country.
However, payment services operating locally are routinely barred from facilitating payments related to gambling. And these transactions are heavily monitored by the authorities. Advertising unregulated casinos are illegal in Denmark. Local media found in violation of the rules may receive a letter for cease and desist.
However, this rule does not stop illegal casinos from advertising on the internet. Since it’s a lot more complicated to monitor. Moreover, the Danish government doesn’t have much influence on regulations outside its jurisdiction.
Most Popular Casino Games in Denmark
The Danes loved their games of chance. Since the lottery has been around for the longest time, it’s the most popular game among Danish players. Sports betting is swiftly gaining popularity, too, as are video slots, poker, bingo, and other table games. Here’s a list of the most popular games at Danish online casinos.
1. Slots – Real money slots are perhaps the biggest draw at casinos in Denmark. Since they’re easy to play, people love video slots and offer a fantastic welcome bonus, including free spins and deposit bonus and massive jackpots. Moreover, it’s easy to find an online casino offering video slots, and there is no shortage of variations. So, players don’t get bored easily.
2. Video Poker – Another amateur-friendly game on the casino floor, video poker is quite popular at Denmark casinos. While the odds are stacked against the players compared to standard table games, your chances of winning are higher than video slots. Taking the right decision isn’t easy and comes with practice, but the stakes are low. Therefore, video poker is a perfect opportunity to master the game before moving on to dedicated poker rooms.
3. Blackjack – Another fan-favourite in Denmark, blackjack is popular among the veteran gamblers since it needs quite a bit more strategising than the other games on this list. The game can be quite rewarding as the house edge drops below 1% with the right moves. Although the game has quite a few rules, blackjack strategies are available online.
4. Baccarat – The game of high-rollers, baccarat is an all-time casino favourite. Punters can wager on the dealer’s hand or the player hand, depending on the cards, but the former has a lower house edge. Besides Denmark, baccarat is also popular in some of the newer regulated markets in Asia and Europe due to higher betting limits.
5. Roulette – One of the oldest casino games still in existence, the basic rules of roulette haven’t changed much over time. The game has a house edge between 1.35% and 5.26%, depending on how you play. Popular variants include American roulette and European roulette.
Most Popular Casino Bonuses in Denmark
While punters love their bonuses, the three most popular freebies in Denmark are no deposit bonus, match deposit bonus, and free spins. Free bets are slowly climbing up the charts ever since sports betting was legalised. But its popularity is yet to spike.
Free spins are the most popular of the bunch, and most casinos can offer up to 100 free spins at the time of registration. However, payouts depend on the wagering requirements at individual casinos. So, make sure to familiarise yourself before signing up.
Since most online casinos in Denmark offer real money games, finding a reputed provider isn’t very difficult. If you’re unsure which casino is the best for you, compare the list of bonuses for a better picture.
Common Payment Methods in Denmark Casinos
Debit and credit cards remain the most popular mode in Denmark since these transactions are quick, effortless, and safer compared to the other payment methods. Moreover, such transactions are free for both deposits and withdrawals.
Dankort card is popular since they’re safe and widely accepted at most casinos. Other popular methods include eWallets like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller. While these are convenient and quick, they might charge a small fee in certain cases and aren’t widely accepted. Hence, not many people them for gambling.
Moving on to cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is the global leader of digital tenders and is accepted at certain casinos in Denmark. However, legal crypto casinos are hard to come by. Finding an unregulated alternative is easier. And it’s generally safe since BTC transactions are difficult to forge.
A few other payment options are EcoCard, eCheck, Envoy, and bank transfer. However, these are rarely used due to various inconveniences.
Summarising the Danish Online Gambling Market
Denmark has strict licensing requirements for online casino operators. While unregulated platforms found operating from within the country are heavily penalised if caught. Danish law makes it illegal for offshore casinos to offer residents their services, and the authorities take extreme measures to enforce the legislation.
The government enforces strict payment bans to dissuade punters from playing on unlicensed casinos. Although, the efforts have been successful to varying degrees. Danes love to gamble, and they always will. The authorities need to focus on modernising the industry even further and frame new player protection policies to influence more punters to sign up.