Danish Market Set for Partial Liberalization

22 April 2009
The Danish Ministry of Taxation announced Tuesday that the country's hitherto monopolistic gambling market will be partially liberalized.

A press release on the ministry's Web site indicated that under forthcoming legal reform, licenses will be made available for online poker, casino games and sports betting.

"The objective of a partial gambling liberalization is to ensure better protection of players, avoid economic crime through gambling and ensure continued revenue for distribution to non-profit causes," the ministry said.

Under existing legislation, Danske Spil A/S, the national lottery, is the sole Internet gambling concessionaire. It went online in 2003 and offers a number of its offline games in electronic format.

According to "Internet Gambling Report 11," the company, in which the tax ministry holds an 80 percent stake, controls around 40 percent of Denmark's 3.5 billion euro gambling market.

News of the ministry's decision was not unexpected.

Around this time last year, Kristian Jensen, the country's tax minister, told Danish National Radio he was examining the possibility of breaking the monopoly.

Moreover, Denmark's existing gambling legislation has been challenged at the national level by Ladbrokes, and has drawn criticism from the European Commission.

IGamingNews will update this story imminently with commentary from a leading Danish gambling expert.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.