Danish regulator blocks record number of websites in 2021

The Danish Gambling Authority (DGA), Spillemyndigheden, has revealed that it blocked 55 websites for illegal/unlicensed gambling during 2021, the highest figure registered in a single year.

As detailed in its ‘Report on illegal gambling 2021’, the DGA – in cooperation with the Danish Tax Agency – completed six searches for potentially illegal websites in 2021. 

The Authority had to take its case to the High Court in order to implement IP blockings, as internet service providers (ISPs) claimed that a site could only be removed if the DGA could prove it had been visited by Danish players.

It was found that of the websites targeting Denmark without permission in 2020, 50% offered casino gaming, 20% offered both sports betting and casino, 11% offered lottery and 5% offered just sportsbook services. 

The remaining 14% were spread across ‘unknown’ segments, skin betting, online casino and lottery sites and those offering a combination of betting, casino and lottery. 

However, the DGA further pursued unblocking actions against websites that no longer violated the terms of the country’s Gambling Act, following reviews that found ‘there were a number of websites where games were no longer offered, or where the game was no longer aimed at the Danish market’.

As a result, the DGA requested the court to lift the blockings of the websites that no longer breached the Gambling Act. 

On land-based gambling, the DGA has also stated that it continues to ‘raise awareness’ of illegal betting at pubs, in particular illegal lotteries, having sent four police reports on the matter – one of which resulted in a verdict handed down, resulting in a venue receiving a fine. 

Additionally, the Authority was involved in cases concerning 35 gambling premises at which poker or gaming machines were installed without a licence. 

The DGA noted that if it became aware of potentially illegal installation and operations of poker and gaming machines, as well as betting terminals, law enforcement would be informed.

Lastly, the Authority also conducted a study on the prevalence of ‘skin betting’  – the use of virtual/cosmetic goods to bet on the outcome of a video gaming event, match or fixture

Measuring traffic, it found that the number of visits to skin betting websites decreased from 5.9 million in 2019 to 4.8 million in 2020, but added that the number of domains with Danish visits increased during the same time period from 19 million to 23 million. 

The DGA explained: “If you look at skin betting in relation to other gaming sites without permission, you can also see here that almost half of the visits in 2020 were on skin betting websites, despite the fact that in 2020 these sites only accounted for 6% of all domains with Danish visits. 

“It is therefore important that the Danish Gaming Authority continues to investigate the market, so that our supervision and sanctions can be targeted at the websites where there is the most traffic from Danish players.”

Summarising its findings, the DGA stated that since the partial liberalisation of the Danish gambling market in 2012, ‘it may seem that the illegal market is increasing’. 

However, it was asserted: “It is still the Danish Gaming Authority’s assessment that the illegal market in Denmark is limited, and that the increase is more an expression of the Danish Gaming Authority’s increasing focus on working with illegal gambling.”

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