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Denmark opens licensing window for land-based casinos

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The Danish Gaming Authority (Spillemyndigheden) has opened a window in which it will accept applications for land-based casino licences in the jurisdiction, until 29 January 2021.

Applications for casinos on board Danish ships in regular service will also be accepted during this period.
Licence applications will be considered by local municipalities, police directors, the Ministry of Taxation, Ministry of Business, and the Danish Maritime Authority, where relevant.

Permission to operate land-based casinos is granted for up to 10 years at a time. Denmark currently has 8 active licences for land-based casinos, including two on board ferries. A further permit has been issued for a land-based casino in Copenhagen, which is expected to open at the end of 2020.

In order to approve licence applications, the Spillemyndigheden will consider whether the casino will be operated in a fully professional and financially sound manner.

Particular importance will be offered to these considerations, including whether the applicant has both the necessary experience in operating land-based gaming and the required financial liquidity to cover the expenses of operating.

Results released in August showed that Denmark’s regulated gambling revenue fell 19.2% year-on-year in the first half of 2020, after the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which had a significant negative impact on the land-based and sports betting sectors.

Revenues for the six months to 30 June fell to DKK2.70bn (£327.0m/€362.6m/$429.4m), with the biggest declines suffered by Danske Spil’s land-based casinos and gaming machines. The contribution from casinos was more than halved to DKK82m, while gaming machines revenue fell 46.6% to DKK382m.

Sports betting revenue, in a period that saw sporting events suspended from mid-March to late May, was down 19.6% to DKK1.01bn.

Figures released by the regulator this week showed that Denmark has the second-highest rate of participation in online gambling in Europe, and is one of just three jurisdictions where over 50% of GGR comes from online channels.

Of 18 European markets assessed, only Sweden saw a higher percentage of online play, at 59%, than Denmark, where online accounted for 53.1% of revenues in 2019.

However, Spillemyndigheden then revealed that average gaming participation dropped for that year, the first time average consumption among Danes aged 18 and over had declined since the igaming market opened in 2012.

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