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  • Denmark continues unlicensed gambling clampdown as self-exclusion register hits 40,000
The Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) has published a variety of statistics showing its progress in the fight against unlicensed gambling in the country.

Below, iGaming NEXT sets out some of the key facts and figures recently published by the regulator.

Growth in self-exclusion

In February 2023, the number of players who had excluded themselves from gambling using the ROFUS self-exclusion register exceeded 40,000.

Since the launch of the register in 2012, the number of excluded players has increased steadily year-on-year.

The rate at which players joined the register began to increase more steeply around 2016, when the DGA increased its focus on raising awareness of the register through campaigns on TV, in cinemas and on social media.

Additionally, the land-based casino sector was integrated into ROFUS that year, while a legislative change in 2020 required all operators, both online and land-based, to refer to ROFUS in their marketing materials.

When choosing to self-exclude from gambling, customers in Denmark have the choice of excluding either temporarily – for a period of one, three or six months – or on a permanent basis.

A further option to self-exclude for just 24 hours at a time has not been included in the DGA’s published statistics, “because of the relatively large variations in this group from day to day.”

Of the more than 40,000 players currently registered with ROFUS, around 66% have chosen to exclude themselves permanently from gambling.

In principle, those exclusions will remain permanently, though they may be overturned by making a direct request to the DGA at least one year after registering.

Affiliate blocking

Self-exclusion is just one of several measures aimed at offering a safe and secure gambling environment to customers in Denmark’s regulated market.

The ability to self-exclude is cited by the DGA as one of the key reasons why preventing the unlicensed sector from targeting Danish players is one of its main priorities.

In summer 2022, the regulator reported 27 websites to the police for ‘mediating’ unlicensed online gambling – a term describing the directing of customers towards gambling operations, for example via affiliate websites.

The 27 websites in question were deemed to be targeting the Danish market and also instructed players on how to gamble online anonymously despite being registered for self-exclusion via ROFUS.

This, the DGA determined, meant the websites had specifically targeted both people with gambling problems and minors.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Dutch regulator took similar action in March, fining one affiliate €675,000 for advertising unlicensed operators.

Operator blocking

Throughout 2022, a total of 82 websites offering unlicensed gambling in Denmark were blocked by the DGA. More website blockings are expected to take place this year.

In order to measure the effectiveness of blocking such websites, the DGA has examined the amount of web traffic visiting them from Denmark.

Across the 145 websites blocked by the authority prior to 2022, the number of visitors from Denmark has fallen from more than 19 million in 2017 to 1.5 million in 2022.

“The Danish Gambling Authority considers it a great success that there are 13 times fewer views on the websites in 2022 than before the blockings in 2017,” the regulator said.

The DGA has also established a working relationship with Facebook, where unlicensed gambling has proliferated in recent years, allowing it to flag unlicensed operations to the platform and have any related content or communities removed.

It is currently working on establishing a similar direct relationship with Google and other online platforms.

International cooperation

The DGA participates in the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF), which encourages closer cooperation between gambling regulators from across 36 European countries and jurisdictions.

GREF recently published a statement in which its members committed to improving international collaboration for combatting unlicensed gambling.

The organisation recognises that while differences in local regulations in each market must be upheld, regulators should work together to achieve their common objectives such as consumer protection and the development of a fair gambling market.

GREF members’ commitment to working together “will result in increased cooperation in the fight against illegal operators particularly through meetings on a regular basis, the exchange of information, alerts, expertise, best practices and joint actions against illegal sites,” the organisation said.

Sports integrity and match-fixing

In other news, the DGA today (3 April) announced that responsibility for the country’s platform for combating match-fixing in sports has been moved to the regulator from Anti Doping Denmark.

That means the DGA will now become the knowledge and information centre for sports integrity in Denmark, as it also takes up responsibility for StopMatchfixing, a platform where anyone can report suspected match-fixing to the authorities.

The regulator will now have responsibility for analysing information around suspicious betting patterns, and passing on information about possible violations to the relevant authorities both nationally and internationally.

“It’s a very important task and a big responsibility that I’m glad we’ve been given,” said DGA director Anders Dorph.

“Since we will be getting data on betting on events across operators licensed in Denmark, it makes perfect sense that we are also the ones with the coordinating and unifying function.”