Danish online gambling rates fall during lockdown

13 May 2020

Online gambling rates in Denmark have declined during a nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), according to data from the country’s Gaming Authority (Spillemyndigheden).

The regulator compared data from 9 March to 3 May 2020 to data from the same period of the previous year.

During this period, it found that weekly online casino revenue grew slightly, by an average of 2% and with a weekly high of 3% before declining back to 2% in the last week studied.

Director of the Danish Gambling Authority Morten Niels Jakobsen said that while the lockdown obviously had a very serious effect on the land-based sector, revenue lost from this channel did was not mitigated by online growth.

“It very much looks like some of the measures that have been put in place in connection with the lockdown of Denmark has had an effect on parts of the gambling market – particularly on betting, land-based casinos and gaming machines” Jakobsen said. 

“Although it is still too soon to measure the full effect of the coronavirus crisis on the gambling market, it does not appear as if the decrease in gambling at land-based casinos and gaming machines as well as betting has caused an increase in gambling on online casino.”

The regulator added that, as these figures are usually expected to increase year-on-year, it doesn’t appear that lockdown caused an increase in online casino play at all.

“From 2018 to 2019, the online casino market increased by 8% of gross gaming revenue,” it said. “Consequently, it cannot be concluded that the recent increase is due to Covid-19. Thus, currently, Danes do not seem to move their gambling from one gambling sector to another during Covid-19.”

However, this has been offset by the much sharper decline in online betting, caused by the cancellation of almost all sports across the globe. Online betting revenue fell by an average of 53%, declining week-on-week every week until the last of the measured period, at a low of 60% below 2019.

The regulator also revealed that self-exclusion register Rofus “has not seen great variation in the number of registered players during the lockdown”. The StopSpillet problem gambling helpline, meanwhile, has seen fewer calls in March and April of 2020 than in the same months of 2019.

Spillemyndigheden said it would continue monitoring the Danish gambling market and will examine how the markets react when certain activities are yet again opened.

The announcement follows the release of data from Great Britain's Gambling Commission, which found that more people in the UK have stopped gambling under lockdown than started or increased play.