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Copyright © 2023. All Rights Reserved. Poker History. Editor: Erik Smith.


January 1st 2012, the Danish Government assigned Spillemyndigheden (Danish Gambling Authority) to regulate online casino, poker and sports betting. The Danish Government gave up its monopoly after 9 years of pressure from EU and foreign betting companies.

A Danish law used at the Supreme Court in Denmark in 1926 stated that it was illegal to make a living from gambling (such as poker). The implementation of the Danish license system moved online poker from a grey area to a regulated legal business for players and operators.

Only one person have been tried and convicted for making a living of online poker in Danish history. In 2009 a guy called “T” had 194.000 Danish Kroner1 (DKK) confiscated from his apartment by the police. He claimed he won it playing online poker. The police suspected “T” of being a drug dealer but had no hard evidence besides the money.

Instead of charging him with illegal distribution of drugs they charged him of ‘making a living of gambling winnings’ referring to the case from 1926. “T” was at the time receiving welfare checks from the government hence not being allowed to have any unreported income. The fact that “T” was receiving welfare while having a job was abuse of the public system.

At the time when the story reached the media a lot of poker players got worried since the public information about the case did not include the details about “T” being an alleged drug dealer committing social fraud. The media only knew that a professional poker player had 194.000 DKK (€26,000) confiscated and that he was forced to pay 20.000 DKK to cover the expenses of the trial since he lost against the state.


Facts about the Danish Gambling License

It cost 250.000 DKK (€33,500) to apply for a casino/poker license or a sports book license. You can apply for both at the same time and pay 350.000 DKK. The license enables you to legally promote your brands in Denmark. You are allowed to have offices and employees in Denmark. You can have Danish content on your websites and player winnings are exempt from taxes.

The prize of running a casino & poker room is 20% of the gross income meaning that you cannot deduct marketing expenses, bonuses, rake back, affiliate commission etc.  For a poker room it is 20% of the total rake and for casinos it is the total amount wagered minus winnings.


Is it illegal for Danes to play on a non Danish licensed poker room?


Has the tax policy changed for Danes?

No. If you play on a poker room licensed and regulated in EU the winnings are still considered tax free according to the Danish and the European Union’s tax laws.


Probably the Best License in the World

The Danish model is the much better than the Italian, French & Spanish license system. The Danish government does not ring-fence the Danish players but allow them to play on international sites such as PokerStars, Party Poker, Pokerplex24 (iPoker) and all others who applied and got a license.


How does it affect Danish poker pros?

We talked to a Danish poker pro who was very happy about the new Danish gambling laws. He said “It is now 100% legal to play poker. I no longer have any reasons to lie about my profession or worry about being dragged to court. My job as a poker player is equal to any other sports athlete. I don’t have to worry about taxes since the rake is being taxed plenty as it is which mean I get less rake back but that is OK when you look at the big picture. I am proud of my job and happy that the government recognize my profession. ”

1 politiken.dk 9 September, 2009