Denmark blocks record number of illegal sites in 2021

| By Richard Mulligan
Danish authorities blocked a record number of websites offering illegal gambling during 2021, while overall channelling towards the regulated sector hit a new high.

In its annual report on illegal gambling throughout 2021, Denmark’s gaming regulator Spillemyndigheden said some 55 domains were blocked after being found to offer illegal gambling opportunities to Danish consumers, which was more than three times greater than the 16 blocked in 2020. A total of 145 sites have been blocked since 2012.

The gambling authority completed six searches for potentially illegal websites in cooperation with the Danish Tax Agency’s anti-fraud unit, with those found to be breaching rules blocked via the City Court. Some 2,709 gambling sites were found via the searches, which was up on the 1,565 found in 2020.

There was a huge leap in the number of requests to investigate illegal gambling sites, with 210 in 2021 compared to 160 in 2020 and just 42 in 2019. The regulator also said there were more reports to the police, with 31 in 2021 compared to 16 in the previous year.

Spillemyndigheden, citing statistics from H2 Gambling Capital, said Denmark had an estimated channelling rate of 90% in 2021, which was up slightly on the 88% in 2020 and 2019. Only the UK, Italy and Czech Republic have a higher channelling rate among European markets. The regulator said the remaining 10% of the Danish market covers both the illegal market, and players who gamble with foreign websites that are not aimed at the domestic market.

“An increase in the number of websites identified, requests and internet blockings may indicate that the illegal market is expanding,” said Spillemyndigheden. “However, the Danish Gambling Authority maintains our assessment that the illegal gambling market in Denmark is limited and the increase expresses the Authority’s increased focus on illegal gambling.”

Earlier this month, Spillemyndigheden submitted an updated certification system for online betting, online casino and land-based betting licensing to the European Commission.

This will become “version 2.0” of Spillemyndigheden’s certification system, the regulator explained, following previous updates in 2015, 2018 and 2020.

The system outlines what conditions operators must meet to be issued licences, with rules tightened around data, testing and player protection.

The certification document was submitted to the European Commission on 25 January 2022. It must now enter a standstill period, which ends on 26 April 2022.

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