EC allows Denmark to open up bingo & horseracing markets as Danske Spil loses market monopoly

The European Commission (EC) has permitted the Danish government to open up its online bingo and horseracing wagering markets, ending the monopoly position of state-owned gambling operator Danske Spil.

The Danish government, in accordance with European Union business laws, wants to liberalise its bingo and horseracing markets. The government had asked the EC for a review of its draft laws in preparation for opening bingo and horseracing to licensed European betting/gaming enterprises.

In 2012, Denmark had passed its new gambling regulatory framework, allowing for licensed casino, poker and sports betting operators to compete within its new liberalised markets.

Placing a 20% on gross gaming revenues for online gambling services, Denmark has been acknowledged as a ‘workable’ market by international operators. The Danish government now moves to fully open all of its gambling sectors adding online bingo and horseracing to its licensing portfolio.

Updating stakeholders, the Danish government stated that online bingo would be better served by regulated enterprises, which could tap into a market demand twice the size of that offered by Danske Spil.

With regards to horseracing, the government detailed that it wanted to reverse the decline in attendance and turnover of the sport. It details that following a review of market and stakeholder conditions, maintaining the sport of horseracing was deemed no longer a viable option.

Morten Ronde, CEO of trade body the Danish Online Gaming Association, issued the following comment to iGamingBusiness: “We are happy that the monopoly on online bingo and betting on horse races is finally broken. This is something we have been arguing for since 2012. We feel that the new rules will bring further innovation and growth to the industry.”

As the Danish government lessens the market influence of Danske Spil, debate has turned as to whether the country still needs a state-owned gambling operator. Members of the cabinet whether to break-up and sell Danske Spil assets to interested parties wanting to enter the lucrative Danish gambling market.

In October 2016, Danske Spil appointed new CEO Susanne Mørch Koch, with a view of forming a new strategy for its services and charitable operations.

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