Danish Market Liberalisation Ahead?

Danish Market Liberalisation Ahead?

A spokesman for Ladbrokes, which has challenged the Danish state gambling monopoly in the past (see previous reports), has indicated that the UK betting giant may be prepared to submit to regulation if the Scandinavian nation opens up its online gambling market.

The Danes recently completed drafting on a regulatory system after years of jousting with private gaming operators and the European Commission over Danske Spil's monopolistic hold on the local market, and it is understood that the proposals have been submitted for comment and approval to the European Commission, which has until October 7th to deliver its opinion.

Speculation based on insider sources is that any Danish licensing regime is going to be very pricey for operators of sportsbetting, Online Casino and poker websites. Figures in the region of GBP 340 000 to GBP 455 000 per annum are being bandied about, along with taxation rates that could match the British rate of 15 percent on profits or go even higher to 20 percent. The sort of numbers that would possibly confine prospective licensees to the large betting groups.

Ladbrokes regional manager for Denmark, Richard Funch, is on record as opining that costs in this ball park would not deter Ladbrokes from applying for a Danish licence.

One Danish proposal that may be challenged is the intention to reserve scratchcard, lottery and online bingo action for the old monopoly Danske Spil.

Funch said recently: "We will be getting a legal view on this and the arguments the government will use to support restricting these games to the monopoly because we believe that, in principle, games shouldn't be treated differently. Admittedly, lottery has a historic structure attached to it, but when it comes to scratchcards and bingo, which we offer in other EU markets such as the UK, it becomes problematic."

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