New era for Danish gambling ?

The gambling news keeps coming thick and fast from the Scandinavian nations, with new revelations on the status of the Danish industry the latest to emerge. The Copenhagen Post this week reports that Danish gambling is expected to enter a new era soon as deregulation opens up the Nordic country's considerable gambling market to international companies.

The newspaper reports that the 60-year gaming monopoly operated by state-owned Danske Spil is set to be terminated when the government announces its plans for deregulation today (Tuesday).

Apparently serious pressure by the European Commission to comply with EU principals of free movement of goods and services was a major factor in pressuring the government into the move.

Deregulation could make more competitive offers available to Danish players from several large foreign online gambling groups keen to enter the market. According to the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, only the Lotto and scratch-off ticket games will continue to be under the sole jurisdiction of Danske Spil. Private companies wanting to get in on the Danish action will be required to pay a licensing fee to the state to be allowed access, and regulatory requirements concerning underage and responsible gambling precautions are likely to be strict.

Last year nearly 11 billion kroner was spent on gaming nationwide, with state profits of 2.8 billion kroner, the Copehangen Post reveals, Around 1.6 billion kronor of that went toward charitable and youth organisations.

Danske Spil has apparently indicated it welcomed the move because the amount it has to pay back to the state - currently 30 percent of its intake - will be considerably reduced as a result of the deregulation.

"It will be nice to get some clarity on the issue after so many years of uncertainty," said H.C. Madsen, Danske Spil’s managing director. "We’ll also be able to offer casino gambling and poker now, which we couldn’t do before."

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