Based on a political agreement from summer 2018, the Danish Gambling Act was slightly amended on 1 February 2019. The amendment primarily increased the licensee's fees in order to finance the Danish Gambling Authority's (DGA's) expenses related to gambling addiction. The other parts of the political agreement have been ratified into amended executive orders that came into force on 1 January 2020. These executive orders set up stricter requirements in relation to bonuses, marketing, etc and strengthen the use of the DGA's Register of Voluntarily Excluded Players (ROFUS). The political agreement also resulted in a code of conduct for the gambling industry that took effect as of 1 July 2019.
See 1.1 Current Outlook.
Betting such as sports and horse race betting is permitted in Denmark subject to specific licence requirements. The same applies to fantasy betting (payment to back a "league" or "portfolio" selection over a period of time; for example, in relation to sport or shares).
Bingo, Casino and Poker
Online bingo, casino and poker is permitted in Denmark upon specific licence requirements.
The Danish gambling market is only partly liberalised, and thus the provision of lotteries is kept under a monopoly. The provision thereof is thus reserved for the Danish state-owned entity Danske Spil. Therefore, it is not possible for anyone else to obtain a licence to provide lotteries. However, it is possible to obtain a licence for non-profit lotteries.
Social games that are provided for free (that is, where no stake or payment is needed to participate) can be provided without a licence.
"Skill games" with no element of chance are permitted under Danish law and can be provided without a licence.
All of the games mentioned in 2.1 Online are also permitted as land-based games conditional upon a licence. Please be aware that special conditions apply for bingo and charity lotteries. With regard to physical gaming machines, these are also permitted in Denmark, although they need to fulfil certain technical requirements as well as be licensed.
The primary legislation for gambling activities in Denmark is the Danish Act on Gambling (the "Gambling Act"). Supplementing the Gambling Act is a series of specific executive orders:
Licensed games in Denmark shall also have their games certified in accordance with the Danish Gambling Authority's certification programme.
The provision of gambling in Denmark is subject to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (the "AML Act") and general rules on marketing in the Danish Marketing Practices Act, which supplements the marketing provisions in the Gambling Act. Furthermore, financial regulation is relevant in relation to the supply of payment services, e-money, etc, as well as regulation on consumer protection in relation to information requirements towards players, which can be applicable. Additionally, there are rules on the players' right to withdraw from a transaction. Finally, licensed games are subject to the Danish Gambling Duties Act.
All of the relevant products are permitted according to Danish Law, conditional upon specific requirements. However, please note that commercial lotteries are a monopoly.
The Danish Gambling Act applies to all games offered to the Danish market. A "game" is defined as any activity that falls within one of the following categories:
The Danish Gambling Act applies both to games that are and are not subject to the payment of a stake to participate, although the Gambling Act only requires a licence for games subject to payment of a stake to participate.
Activities where the betting is not concerned with the result of an event or games where there is no element of chance, such as participation in sports events or competitions based on knowledge (with no drawing of lots), do not fall within the Danish Gambling Act.
The Gambling Act defines land-based gambling as gambling that is entered into by a player and a gaming supplier, or the supplier’s agent, meeting physically. Land-based games are, for example, games that are provided in shops or in physical casinos.
The Gambling Act defines "online gambling" as gambling that is entered into by a player and a gambling operator using remote communication. Remote communication means communication without the player and the gambling operator meeting physically; for example, through the internet, telephone, radio, mobile phone, or email.
All violations of the Gambling Act may result in penalties as stated in 3.6 Penalties for Unlawful Gambling.
Key offences that can be committed are:
The sanctions for breaching the Danish gambling legislation/regulations range from a warning to up to two years in prison, dependent on the specific offence. The most common sanctions are a warning and an order to correct the offence. The DGA does not have the power to issue fines and thus it is obliged to hand over the matter to the Danish police with the recommendation that the police issue a penalty notice that the violator can choose to accept or try the matter in court. The DGA has just recently started to hand over matters to the police, thus there is very limited case law.
The DGA can also choose to revoke the gambling operator’s licence if there is a serious breach of the Danish Gambling Act.
In relation to gambling operators that direct their provision of gambling to the Danish market without a valid licence, the DGA will request the Bailiff’s Court to issue an ISP block of the website.
The Danish government is about to introduce new initiatives to set up stricter requirements in relation to online operators' marketing; eg, a ban on the use of famous people in marketing.
Further, it has been suggested by the Danish government, in the agreement on the Finance Act of 2020, to increase the tax rate on gross gaming revenue (stakes minus winnings) (GGR) on betting and online casinos from 20 to 28%. On this basis, the increase has been presented on October 6th in the 2021 Finance Bill. It is expected it will be passed in Parliament this autumn and come into force on 1 January 2021.
The Danish gambling market is supervised by the Danish Gambling Authority, the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Consumer Ombudsman. As regards licensing, it is the DGA that issues the licence to provide gambling.
The Danish gambling market is intensively regulated and watched over by the DGA, which knows all stakeholders. At the same time, the DGA is open for dialogue.
The provision of a game requires a licence from the DGA if the game (i) is offered to the Danish market, (ii) is subject to the payment of a stake to participate, and (iii) falls within one of the following categories: (a) lotteries, (b) combination games, or (c) betting.
As social/skill arrangements do not normally meet the above criteria, such games generally do not require a licence.
Examples of games that can be provided without a licence:
Danish gambling licences can be divided into two main categories: online gambling licences and land-based gambling licences.
There are two types of online gambling licence available in Denmark: a betting licence and an online casino licence. The betting licence also covers the provision of land-based betting.
As for land-based gambling, there are two main types of land-based licence available in Denmark: a casino licence and a limited licence covering only gaming machines.
The Gambling Act has been amended, with effect as of 1 January 2018, whereby betting on horse, dog and pigeon racing, in addition to online bingo, has been liberalised and is now part of the online casino licence and betting licence.
Further, it is possible to apply for a revenue-restricted licence, according to which the GGR cannot exceed DKK1 million.
It is also possible to apply for a turnover-restricted manager game, according to which the turnover cannot exceed DKK5 million and the repayment percentage (percentage return) cannot exceed 20%.
There are no limits on the number of licences to provide online gambling, or on having gaming machines in arcades or restaurants.
There is a restriction on the number of land-based casino licences that may be issued.
It is not possible to obtain key personnel or subcontractor licences, and subcontractors are generally not obliged to obtain their own licence – on the condition that they only act as suppliers to the gambling operator. However, this is based on a specific assessment of the obligations between the parties.
All licences for online gambling are readily available as long as the requirements in 4.6 Application Requirements are met and the fees are paid. However, licences for land-based casinos are only available when one of the current licences becomes available or if the DGA opens for new applications.
The different licences are issued for different periods of time: the “revenue-restricted” licence to provide online gambling is limited to one year, whereas a normal licence to provide online gambling (betting and/or online casino) can be issued for up to five years. It is possible to apply for renewal before expiration of the licence. This process is similar to, but less comprehensive than, the regular application process described under 4.6 Application Requirements.
The land-based casino licence is issued for a period of up to ten years, while the limited land-based gaming machine licence is issued on an individual basis and may be granted for an unlimited period of time.
As mentioned previously, Danish gambling licences can be divided into two main categories: online gambling licences and land-based gambling licences.
An application for a gambling licence is subject to a fee (see 4.8 Application Fees).
Any person wishing to provide online gambling to the Danish market must (i) be at least 21 years old, (ii) not have a legal guardian, (iii) not be subject to insolvency proceedings, (iv) not have been convicted of criminal offences that render it probable that the person will abuse their access to gambling, and (v) not have any debt to public authorities.
If the person does not live in Denmark or in another EU/EEA country, the person must have appointed a representative living in Denmark or, if the appointed representative is a legal entity, be established in Denmark.
Any company that wishes to provide online gambling to the Danish market must be established within the EU/EEA or have an appointed representative in Denmark.
Furthermore, the members of the board and the directors must meet the requirements for physical persons mentioned above.
When appointing a representative, the representative must be approved by the DGA and, in order to obtain this approval, the representative must meet requirements similar to those imposed on physical persons mentioned above.
If these minimum requirements are met, the applicant must further prove that it will be able to provide online gambling in a sound financial and professional manner.
The assessment is made by the DGA based on a large number of financial and technical documents, which the applicant is required to submit. The requirements for a revenue-restricted licence are less comprehensive.
The DGA may either choose to grant a full licence, grant a conditional licence or reject the application. Applicants failing to submit sufficient documentation or failing to live up to the requirements set forth by the DGA will normally be given a chance to take remedial action by providing the missing information before the application is rejected.
The DGA will consider the overall picture, and if it finds that the necessary requirements are met, it will issue a licence. From the handing in of an application to the DGA, the issuing of a licence will normally take between three and six months.
As a rule, there is no refund of the application fee, which will be forfeited if the application is rejected. If the applicant applies again, a new fee must be paid.
The process when applying for a land-based casino licence and a licence to set up gaming machines is similar to the one described above and supplemented by the executive orders on land-based casinos and gaming machines in arcades and restaurants. Accordingly, there are, eg, requirements for persons working within a land-based casino.
At the time of writing (October 2020), there are nine land-based casino licences. For now, it is not possible to apply for new land-based casino licences. It is only possible to apply for a licence when one of the current licences becomes available or if the DGA opens for new applications.
As stated in 4.6 Application Requirements, it normally takes between three and six months from the handing in of an application to the DGA issuing a licence.
The application fee is DKK285,800 for a betting licence or an online casino licence (2020 level); however, if the party applies for a combined betting and online casino licence, the fee is DKK400,100 (2020 level).
For applicants with an annual GGR of less than DKK1 million, a “revenue-restricted” licence may be issued, and the fee is DKK57,200 per licence (2020 level).
Online gambling operators have to pay an annual fee for holding the licence. The fee is based on their GGR. Additionally, the licence-holders have to pay gambling duty based on their GGR (see 13.1 Tax Rate by Sector).
Applying for a licence to set up gaming machines is subject to an annual fee of DKK655 (2020 level) per gaming machine.
It is possible to apply for a licence to set up gambling machines in premises (restaurationer) or gambling arcades that have an alcohol licence.
In principle it is only possible to give permission to set up a maximum of three gambling machines.
In gambling arcades, no other games or business activity other than gambling machines may occur. It is only permitted to sell sweets, snacks and drinks on a limited scale, and it is prohibited to sell hard liquor (liquor with alcohol of 2.8% volume or more). Please note that certain specific requirements apply to gambling arcades.
See 3.7 Pending Legislation.
Online gambling operators contracting with players directly, either through their own website or through a white-label site, must hold an online gambling licence to provide gambling in Denmark. In general, a white-label site is defined as a site that markets games that are provided under a different party's licence to provide gambling, making it appear as if the white-label site operates the game. This will allow the producer/product owner to sell its gambling product several times in a way that makes it look like a unique brand every time. The producer/product owner must be a licence-holder. There are specific regulations on the use of white-label sites.
Online operators that do not contract directly with players, but only provide services to gambling operators, are not required to hold a licence.
Gambling operators are permitted to use affiliates, which in the Danish gambling market is often seen in relation to advertisement of the gambling operator's website or games.
Affiliates do not need permission from the DGA if they only advertise the gambling operator. If the affiliate, for example, has a relation to the players, owns gambling data, or owns rights associated with brands or websites that are advertised, the affiliate may need permission from the DGA.
The Danish regulation on consumer protection and marketing and the provision regarding marketing and advertisement in the Gambling Act also apply for affiliates. Therefore, affiliates may be held liable for violations of these regulations.
As noted, it is possible for gambling operators that hold a Danish gambling licence to obtain permission to offer white-label agreements.
Please note that regardless of the use of white labels, the gambling operator is always responsible for complying with the gambling law and the terms stipulated in the licence.
See 1.1 Current Outlook and 3.7 Pending Legislation regarding the enforcement of the political agreement.
The DGA has the legal grounds in the Gambling Act to ask the Bailiff’s Court to ISP block an unlicensed website (see 11.2 Sanctions for an elaboration of this).
The DGA also has the legal grounds to ask the Bailiff’s Court to order payment service providers to block payments to unlicensed operators.
The purpose of the Gambling Act is:
This results in several obligations being imposed on Danish licence-holders, and especially on holders of a Danish licence to provide online gambling.
Such obligations include the obligation for online gambling operators to monitor the players’ consumption of gambling, providing the players with the possibility of “cooling-off periods” and providing access to a state-controlled Register of Voluntarily Excluded Players, as well as having their gambling system set up so that every time a player attempts to log in, the system automatically checks whether the player has registered himself with ROFUS, and, if so, the system denies him access to his account.
The executive orders of 29 November 2019 require the players to fix a daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limit for their game before beginning the game. There will be imposed an attention duty upon the online gambling operator in relation to abnormal gaming patterns that indicate gambling problems with the players. Furthermore, all players listed in ROFUS decline to receive marketing material from a gambling operator in the exclusion period.
The gambling operator must therefore consult ROFUS to check whether the player is listed therein before sending marketing material to the player.
A political agreement to limit gambling addiction was partly adopted in December 2018 and took effect as of February 2019.
The political agreement resulted in a code of conduct for the gambling industry, which took effect as of 1 July 2019. The purpose of the code of conduct is to increase consumer protection and contribute to preventing gambling as entertainment developing into compulsive gambling.
Gambling management tools include the following.
The provision of gambling in Denmark is subject to the Anti-Money Laundering Act. The AML Act has implemented the EU's AML directives, most recently the Fifth Directive.
The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has published a guidance on the Danish AML Act that was updated in 2018.
Danish licence-holders may only receive payments into a gambling account from a payment services provider that provides these services legally in Denmark pursuant to the Danish Payments Act.
According to this act, payment services may only be provided in Denmark by certain types of providers that have been granted authorisation in Denmark, in the European Union or in a country with which the European Union has entered into an agreement for the financial area.
If the service provider does not hold a Danish authorisation, it cannot begin its operation in Denmark before it has obtained a cross-border authorisation; see the Danish Financial Business Act.
The authorisation is granted when the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has received notification from the supervisory authorities in the service provider’s home country.
Furthermore, gambling operators are not allowed to provide credit facilities to the players.
The Fourth AML Directive was implemented as of 26 June 2017 via the new Danish AML Act. This had the effect that the AML regulation now covers both online and offline casinos and betting; thus, as of 26 June 2017, all gambling operators are required to identify and assess the risk of money laundering and financing of terrorism within their business on the basis of their business model. With regard to that risk assessment, they are required to have sufficient written policies, procedures and controls that can effectively limit the risk of money laundering and financing of terrorism. Additionally, the gambling operators are required to commence a customer due diligence with their customers. In certain situations, customer due diligence may require enhancement, while in other situations a simplified due diligence is sufficient. The new AML Act is very comprehensive and the above is not exhaustive. The DGA has published a guideline that should be seen as a supplement to the general guideline from the FSA.
Gambling operators are also obliged to inform the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime of any suspicious transactions.
The Fifth AML Directive was implemented as of 2 May 2019 via the Danish AML Act. The main part of the act came into effect as of 10 January 2020, where suppliers of exchanging of virtual currencies and fiat currencies and suppliers of virtual wallets will be covered by the Danish AML Act.
There is no specific regulation concerning gambling with virtual currencies and, thus, the Gambling Act will apply if such activity can be characterised as “gambling” pursuant to Section 5(1)(i) of the Gambling Act, the most central condition being whether there is a chance of winning a prize.
Only regulated currencies are covered by the Danish Payment Act, which means that unregulated currencies such as bitcoin will not be accepted as a means of payment (payment instrument) by the gaming operators on the Danish market.
The DGA monitors the gambling market and the DGA will also monitor the licence-holders' compliance with marketing provisions. Please note that if infringement of such marketing provisions will result in fines or imprisonment, the case will be handed over to the Danish police (see 11 Enforcement).
Please note that games that are also regulated by the Danish regulation on marketing and consumer protection are also the responsibility of the Danish Consumer Ombudsman.
Neither the Gambling Act nor the Danish Marketing Practices Act defines advertising. It may be defined as a businessperson's or company's commercial communication to a consumer that is directly related to promotion, sale, or supply of a product.
The provision of gambling in Denmark is subject to general rules on marketing in the Danish Marketing Practices Act, which supplements the marketing provisions in the Gambling Act.
The marketing and advertisement of bonuses (for example, a sign-up bonus) is regulated by the executive orders on the provision of both land-based and online betting, and on the provision of online casinos.
According to the Danish Gambling Act, all marketing of gambling must:
When marketing a bonus offer, all conditions must be disclosed in a clear and unambiguous manner within the immediate context of the bonus offer. However, depending on the media type, a referral to another medium for additional information concerning the offer can generally be accepted in the form of “one click away”. Bonuses may not be offered to single players on conditions that differ from the conditions offered to other players. The player shall have at least 60 days to meet any conditions associated with the payment of a bonus.
It is a requirement under the Danish regulation that the website (and all communication with the players) is available in Danish and the gambling duty is calculated and payable in Danish kroner. However, the website can also be available in other languages and use other currencies.
The executive orders of 29 November 2019 extend the extent of information that the gambling operators must state in marketing material. Information such as the age limit of the game, the DGA's hotline concerning responsible gaming and the possibility of listing in the state-controlled ROFUS shall be stated when marketing games. The gambling operator must also use the DGA's labelling scheme in the marketing material.
Furthermore, the executive orders of 29 November 2019 set limits for deposits on gaming accounts or stakes in games to obtain promotional measures and limit the amount of promotional measures. The executive orders also set a limit on the number of rewagering requirements. Winnings from promotional measures may not be subject to rewagering requirements. Furthermore, promotional measures must be granted on the same terms when given to individual players and they must be given to all players playing within the same fixed interval or who meet another set criterion.
The interval must be fixed so that the promotional measure is offered to a minimum of 100 players.
Violations of advertising regulations in the Gambling Act may be sanctioned with fines.
A Danish gambling licence cannot be transferred.
In the event of corporate restructuring – such as a merger, demerger or an exchange of shares – the DGA must be notified in advance in order to obtain prior approval. It is not possible to transfer (delegate) a licence or the rights and obligations that follow with the licence.
It should be noted that the DGA has expressed indeterminacy on this topic, which is why the matter of acquisitions and changes of control of a gambling licence is not certain at this time.
A change of corporate control occurs when a person or legal entity crosses the threshold of owning 10% of the shares or the voting rights in the company holding the licence.
Similar requirements apply as in 10.2 Change of Corporate Control Triggers, as there are no exemptions for passive investors.
The DGA monitors the gambling market and can at any time open a procedure for revocation of a licence if it finds that the licence-holder can no longer supply games in a sound financial and professional manner. The DGA also has the legal grounds in the Gambling Act to ask the Bailiff’s Court to ISP block an unlicensed website.
The DGA has at this point no jurisdiction to issue fines for violation of the Danish Gambling Act. Consequently, even minor violations of the Act carry the risk of being brought in by the police in response to a report from the DGA.
The sanctions for breaching the Danish gambling legislation/regulations range from a warning to up to two years in prison, depending on the specific offence. Such cases will be monitored by the Danish police (see 11.3 Financial Penalties). There are still no public decisions on fines or imprisonment due to infringement of the Gambling Act, and the most common sanctions are a warning and an order to correct the offence.
In relation to gambling operators who direct their provision of gambling to the Danish market without a valid licence, the DGA will request the Bailiff’s Court to issue an ISP block of the website. The DGA has used this sanction on several occasions. Every time ISP blocking is granted, the relevant websites are listed on the DGA’s website.
The DGA monitors the gambling market and can at any time open a procedure for revocation of a licence if it finds that the licence-holder can no longer supply games in a sound financial and professional manner. Such a procedure has, to the best of this firm's knowledge, not yet been opened.
Decisions made by the DGA may be appealed to the National Tax Tribunal for a fee of DKK400. The decision made by the National Tax Tribunal must be brought before the Danish courts within three months of the decision. Otherwise, the decision from the National Tax Tribunal will be final.
As the DGA does not have the power to issue fines, it will be obliged to hand over the matter to the Danish police with the recommendation that the police issue a penalty notice that the violator can choose to accept and try in court. There are still no public decisions on fines or imprisonment due to infringement of the Gambling Act. The most common sanctions are a warning and an order to correct the offence.
Social gaming is often described as games consisting of structured activities that have contextual rules through which users can engage with one another. Social games are most often multiplayer and have one or more of the following features:
Social games that are provided for free (that is, where no stake or payment is needed to participate) can be provided without a licence.
The DGA has indicated that it is intensifying its monitoring of social gaming in order to ensure that it fulfils the requirements of social gaming and, if not, it should be regulated.
The Danish Gambling Act does not, as such, regulate esports.
Fantasy sports are not, as such, regulated in the Danish Gambling Act.
"Skill games" with no element of chance are permitted under Danish law. Such games can be provided without a licence.
Blockchain is not accepted as currency according to the Danish Gambling Act.
There is no further information regarding reform in this jurisdiction.
The provision of games covered by the Gambling Act is subject to duty under the Danish Gambling Duties Act. The duty percentage and the regulation and the frequency of payment vary depending on the type of game. Thus, in the following, the gambling tax rates will be outlined by sector.
The duty is based on a percentage of the GGR, which is the received stakes minus paid-out winnings.
A negative GGR in one duty period cannot be carried forward for set-off against positive GGR in subsequent periods. Subsequently, if there is a negative GGR for one period, the duty must be declared at DKK0.
Marketing costs that are not actual winnings for the players (eg, bonuses and free spins) cannot be deducted when calculating the GGR.
Online and Land-Based Betting
The operator of online and land-based betting must pay a duty at 20% of the GGR. As regards betting exchanges, the duty is 20% of the amount charged in commission. In both cases, the duty is due on a monthly basis.
The operator of online casinos must pay a duty at 20% of the GGR. For poker and other cases where the gambling operator's profit is the commission charged, the operator must pay a duty at 20% of the amount charged in commission. In both cases, the duty is due on a monthly basis.
The operator of land-based casinos must pay a duty at 45% of the GGR minus the amount of special tipping chips plus an additional 30% on the part of the GGR that exceeds DKK4,179,200. The duty is due on a monthly basis.
Physical Gaming Machines in Restaurants or Gaming Arcades
The operator of physical gaming machines in restaurants or gaming arcades must pay a duty at 41% of the GGR. For gaming machines in restaurants, an additional 30% on the part of the GGR that exceeds DKK31,400 is added. For gaming machines in gaming arcades, an additional 30% on the part of the GGR that exceeds DKK261,200 is added plus DKK3,100 per machine up to 50 machines and DKK1,600 per machine exceeding 50. The duty is due on a monthly basis.
Non-profit Lottery and Prizes in Connection with Free Games
With regard to cash prizes, operators of a non-profit lottery and prizes in connection with free games must pay a duty at 17.5% of the amount that exceeds DKK200. Regarding prizes consisting of goods or services (market value), such operators must pay a duty at 17.5% of the amount that exceeds DKK750. In both cases, the duty is due 15 days after the result of the lottery has been decided.
Other Duties and Relevant Fees
In addition to these duties, a licensed online gambling operator must pay an annual fee for the licence. The annual fee is fixed in classes varying from DKK57,200 to DKK5,143,500 (2020 level). The annual fee is due one month after the effective date of the licence and then on an annual basis.
Having a gaming machine is subject to an annual fee of DKK655 per gaming machine.
With the liberalisation of betting on horse racing, betting providers that provide gambling on horse racing will be charged 8% of the GGR of betting on horse races on Danish horse racing tracks. The fee will be calculated based on a three-month period.
Depending on the circumstances, the gambling operator may also be obliged to pay regular Danish company tax (particularly if the gambling operator is established/incorporated in Denmark).