Danish, Dutch Regulators Tackle Illegal Gambling

April 3, 2024
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The Danish Gambling Authority has said it blocked 49 sites offering illegal gambling to Danish residents last year, with the most prominent company blocked being Stake.com.
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The Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) has said it blocked 49 sites offering illegal gambling to Danish residents last year, with the most prominent company blocked being Stake.com.

The regulator said it believes channelisation is high in Denmark, with about 90 percent of gamblers staying with licensed operators.  

It also said it considers blocking websites to be an effective method of deterring illegal websites from soliciting Danish gamblers.

Regulators in both Denmark and the Netherlands issued annual reports on Tuesday (April 2), with special emphasis on their attempts to stop illegal or unlicensed gambling.

The Danish regulator said it examined previous years’ attempts to block websites, with a survey finding that for the 227 websites blocked before 2023, Danish visits fell to 1.8m from 15.8m in 2017.

The agency referred 27 websites to police for prosecution last year that offered gamblers a chance to “play without ROFUS”, which is by circumventing Denmark’s gambling self-exclusion programme.

“It must be assumed that the websites are particularly aimed at people with gambling problems and minors,” the report said.

The regulator reported an unlicensed lottery to the police for prosecution, an action which it said led to police confiscating 174,000 Danish krone (€23,300) from the lottery, and a fine of 250,000 krone for the payment processor.

The agency said it reported to police a social media streamer advertising gambling sites without permission last year, a referral which resulted in a fine, the DGA said.

The DGA said it has since reported two more streamers to the police.

In the Netherlands, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA) said it issued four fines totalling €26.7m to illegal operators, plus a fine to an affiliate promoting unlicensed operators.

Online gross gambling revenue grew 29 percent in 2023, but growth rates declined over the year, the KSA said.

Last year, the regulator said it evaluated its Cruks self-exclusion registry, which implemented an eight-day period of reflection for players seeking to end their gambling freeze “to prevent impulsive decisions”.

About 76,000 people took a gambling stop in 2023 through Cruks, with the minimum period being a break of six months.

Research shows that the phrase “gambling stop” appealed more to players surveyed than “player break”.

In 2023, the agency granted four licences for online games of chance, and rejected four — two for “serious shortcomings” and two because of “negative integrity assessments”.

That compares to 13 approved licences in 2022, with three rejections and 11 approved in 2021, with six rejections, the regulator said.

The KSA said it sent 16 warning notices last year and, in all cases, the violations stopped.

In the fourth quarter, the agency studied cashback bonuses.

“Our position is that all bonuses linked to loss, or where loss is compensated in any way, are undesirable,” the KSA wrote.

“After all, offering such a bonus contributes to players taking more risks, thereby dampening the brakes on losses. Loss-based bonuses, such as cashback bonuses, encourage excessive participation in gambling.”

The regulator said that last year it notified Facebook and Instagram 50 times of operators believed to be violating Dutch law, and 43 times the content was removed.

The KSA also researched 31 affiliate websites that it believed were directing players to unlicensed websites, and five times it issued warnings, with one report resulting in a €675,000 fine.

The authority said that at the end of 2023, it employed 125, and it expects to have a staff of 150 by the end of this year.

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