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Denmark: Study flags concerns over underage gambling prevalence

| By Robert Fletcher
Around 15% of young people in Denmark aged between 15 and 17 have gambled according to a new study by national regulator Spillemyndigheden.
Danske Spil Q1

Based on data from the research, Spillemyndigheden says this corresponds to approximately 32,000 people taking part in underage gambling. The legal age of gambling in Denmark is set at 18.

Of those in this age group that have gambled, 68% did so by placing some form of bet. Some 42% said they played online casino 21% lottery and scratchcards and 4% other activities.

It was also noted that 35% of young people played on websites that offer skin betting. This is a feature in video games where players can win virtual items including character outfits or new weapons. 

Spillemyndigheden says that while this is a popular form of gambling among younger players, there are currently no sites licensed to offer this in Denmark. As such, those players that took part in these activities did so with illegal websites.

Gambling most popular with 40-49 age group in Denmark

While the prevalence of underage gambling is of concern, it is lower than every other age group in the report. This is with the exception of the 70-plus group, of which 10% said they had gambled.

The leading age group is 40-49, with 30% gambling. This is ahead of 18-24 on 26%, 50-59 with 27%, 30-39 at 24%, 25-29 on 22% and finally 60-69 at 19%.

There is more reason for concern in Denmark with evidence of young people contacting gambling harm organisations.

The study found that of all calls made to StopSpillet, the specialist gambling helpline run by Spillemyndigheden, 4% came from players under 18. This, the research says, shows people are already at risk of developing a gambling-related issues at an early age.

Figures released by Spillemyndigheden are part of wider research into gambling habits in Demark.  A questionnaire was sent to a random selection of players over the age of 15. The regulator hopes to publish the full findings before the end of the year.

StopSpillet: 88% of callers placed first bet before 18

The figures will come as further warning over underage gambling in Denmark. Earlier this year, other data from StopSpillet revealed 88% of callers placed their first bet before they turned 18.

Data also revealed callers experience problem gambling behaviour for approximately two years and seven months before they contact StopSpillet.

Relatives of problem gamblers account for 39% of all calls to StopSpillet with half coming from parents of players. Of these calls from relatives, 17% came from partners and 17% siblings.

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