Auch Dänemark kennt Netzsperren

For the opponents of the gambling law lies the promised land in the north, in Denmark. The country has a much more liberal approach than Switzerland in terms of regulating online gambling: anyone who complies with certain rules gets the license for an online casino or for online betting. In Switzerland, however, should only get a license for the Internet, who also operates a terrestrial casino. That’s what the Federal Council and Parliament want it to be. Several young parties have taken the referendum. On June 10, the population votes.

Authority controls foreign providers

In the summer of 2010, the Danish parliament unanimously passed a law that also provided licenses for online casinos and online betting. The prerequisites: Providers must be financially sound and able to guarantee profits; they must register the players and match the information with a database on which players can register voluntarily if they wish to exclude themselves from online gambling. The company may be domiciled abroad, but must provide the gaming authority with remote access to control the system. In early 2012, the new law came into force.

Today there are 28 casino and 16 betting licenses for online offers. The system works well, says Jan Madsen, head of online gaming at the Danish Gaming Authority. „We can enforce Danish law, even if the companies have their headquarters abroad.“ To do so, the remote access to the system. And for tax issues, the company would have to appoint a legal representative in Denmark itself.

Dialog is important to the Danish gaming authority. The licensed providers provide company visits, also abroad. According to their own statements, the authority gets an insight into the structure of the companies, gets to know the company management and discusses general topics and specific questions.

Software looks for suspicious sites

Dialogue is also the first step when it comes to illegal offers. The gaming authority uses a so-called web crawler, an automatic search software, to systematically search the Internet for suspicious websites. In 2017, this resulted in 328 hits, of which, after closer scrutiny, the vast majority turned out to be legal or unrelated to gambling. In 31 cases, the authority intervened.

In a first step, the Danish regulator points out to operators that their offer infringes Danish law. The authority urges operators to stop illegal activities, Madsen says. „Most then stop their offer.“ The gambling authority only intervene, he says, if the offer is clearly aimed at Danish players, for example, written in Danish or accept assignments in Danish kroner.

Network locks are an important element

But dialogue alone is not enough in Denmark. For providers of online money games that do not cooperate (or do not adapt their offer), the gaming authority knows the means of the network locks. It can therefore technically block access to the websites concerned. In Switzerland, the network ban is the most controversial point in the voting battle – and the most important reason why several young parties have launched the referendum.

In Denmark, network blocks are an important instrument for the regulation of gambling, says Jan Madsen. It has been used over the years again and again, most recently in January: A court has issued against 24 websites a network ban. Another 13 barriers to illegal online offerings are in force from previous years, but others have been lifted over the years.

Small black market

Overall, the black market is very small in Denmark, so the statement of the gambling authority. Although there are no exact numbers. „But several factors indicate that gambling is not common in Denmark,“ says Madsen. Probably a consequence of liberal regulation.

Another effect of the new regulation is the increase in gross gaming revenues from online offers. Since the licensing of gambling on the Internet in 2012, the revenues of online casinos doubled before deducting taxes to DKK 1.8 billion, while terrestrial casinos stagnated. For the state, this also means rising revenues, as gross gaming revenues in Denmark are taxed at a flat rate of 20 percent.

Online cash games are completely banned in Switzerland today. With the new law, the federal and parliament want to create an online concession. However, only operators of existing casinos can apply for the limited number of licenses – new providers from home or abroad are excluded.

The Danish model relies on liberal regulation: even foreign companies can acquire pure online licenses, whose number is also not limited. The network locks are an important means of enforcing this model, Madsen says. „But much more important is the legal possibility that foreign providers can even acquire an online license.“