Danish regulator blocks 18 illegal gambling sites in 2018

3 January 2019

Danish regulator Spillemyndigheden has admitted that it still faces challenges with unlicensed iGaming sites, despite claiming that it is succeeding in reducing the size of the country’s illegal gambling market.

In 2018, Spillemyndigheden conducted three web searches in collaboration with the Danish Tax Authority, identifying 742 potentially illegal sites offering gambling services to Danish consumers. This number was significantly higher than in previous years due to the regulator widening its search.

The regulator ultimately found that 22 sites were breaching regulations by offering gambling without the relevant licence, and ordered them to withdraw from the Danish market.

Spillemyndigheden followed up on this by requesting local internet service providers block 18 websites that did not respond to the issued petitions – the highest amount since legalisation in 2012 and the first time any sites have been blocked since 2014.

The regulator also highlighted a growing problem with skin betting, where video game players use in-game items as collateral for wagering. A total of 95 problematic sites were identified during one of the three searches,  leading to 17 being ordered to cease activity, and six blocking orders. Spillemyndigheden said up to 25 additional sites are likely to be targeted in the coming year.

In addition, Spillemyndigheden cited concerns over illegal gambling on Facebook, with the key issue being groups that offer gambling without a licence, primarily on lotteries. It has begun to work with Facebook to tackle the problem, which resulted in four groups offering illegal gambling being shut down in 2018.

Ultimately, however, Spillemyndigheden said that as the number of websites that target Denmark with an illegal supply of gambling products has fallen since liberalisation in 2012, efforts to reduce the size of the unlicensed market are succeeding.

The regulator also cited an overall increase in gross gaming revenue, suggesting this showed more consumers were switching to licensed sites. In the third quarter of 2018, revenue was up 9.7% year-on-year to DKK1.62bn (£196.2m/€216.9m/$246.7m).

However, Spillemyndigheden admitted that it still faces challenges with websites promoting illegal gambling sites. The regulator warned that more work was required to crack down on skin betting and illegal gambling on social media platforms such as Facebook in 2019.

The regulator said it will look to further refine its search processes to identify illegal gambling sites, as well as developing new systems to help investigate the more unusual types of illegal gambling. This, it said, will lead to the blocking of more sites early in 2019.

Image: Macedo_Media (Pixabay)