What did the regulated market bring to Denmark?
It’s a known fact that all Nordic countries except for Denmark are protecting a state monopoly in gambling, and Denmark decided to abandon this approach and regulate the market around 2010. Are Danish players better protected than their Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish counterparts? Is it easier to find an online casino in Denmark that’s actually good for the player?
How is the Danish market regulated?
The Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) issues licences to all applicants who wish to offer their gambling services to Danish people. As is almost always the case, whenever the operators are presented with a legal opportunity to enter some market, they choose to do so. This isn’t one of those restrictive application processes or those that are designed to create a false image of liberalization whereas in fact they’re there to protect the monopoly, as is the case in Slovenia, to name one example. The operator can apply for a DGA licence and is then free to offer its services to Danish residents, and DGA is there to protect the players from false advertising and other things.
Since Denmark is such a lucrative market for the operators, with a lot of people gambling and a lot of disposable income in the country, it makes sense for an operator to jump through hoops to be able to legally be present on this market. There are some 50 operators (as of May 2019) that have a DGA licence for gambling or betting.
How are the players protected?
Danish players can comfortably play in DGA-licenced online casinos and sportsbooks as they know these operators must adhere to the guidelines imposed by the DGA, which also includes technical guidelines and advertising guidelines. For example, as of April 2019 it is not allowed to offer “free spins”, “free bets” or anything that’s supposedly free but in fact is not and comes with difficult rollover requirements. This may seem ridiculous to some, but is in fact a positive sign that says a government won’t let businesses fool the consumers in any way, and it’s good to have that kind of protection in gambling as well.
Differences to other Nordic countries
Obviously, there’s a huge difference between Norwegians who are only allowed to play those slots that Norsk Tipping decided to release in their Kong Casino – and they can’t play at night since the online casino only operates between 07:00 and 03:00 – and the Danish players who have more than 50 brands to choose from, and these brands are regulated, too. In Norway, people still gamble with unlicenced operators in order to get access to the best slots and best bonuses, but don’t (and can’t possibly) have a clue if the operator is good or not, and have no one to turn to in case something goes wrong. Meanwhile, it’s likely that Norway gets less money through tax (as a lot of it goes under the radar with “illegal” gambling) than Denmark, as Danes charge money for licence fees and then tax the operators as well. We wouldn’t be too wrong if we’d say Denmark is the most advanced gambling market in Nordic countries right now, and unlike its neighbouring countries, in Denmark everyone wins – the government, the players, and the operators. Compare this to the history of online slots in Norway.