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Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. Poker History. Editor: Erik Smith.

CHANGES IN THE DANISH POKER MARKET

The Danish gambling laws that made online poker 100% legal on January 1, 2012, have now been in effect for eight and half months. Is poker safer and better for Danish players now? What about the operators and affiliates have they benefited from the open market?

In our article ‘’Danish Gambling License’’ we described what it means to have a Danish License and how it has affected players from a legal perspective. Now we will look into what has actually happened since then.

The technical aspects are pretty simple. When you sign-up on a Danish gambling site you need a Danish CPR-number. All citizens in Denmark have one and it is unique to each person. It is your DOB plus four digits, for example 250192-1234. The four last numbers are calculated by using a mathematical formula. Women have equal numbers while men have odd numbers.

To login and play you need to use ‘NEM ID’. This is a unique key card for official online use such as online banking, tax declarations and other official tasks that can be sorted online. All Danish License holders need to install the NEM ID application in order to promote their products in Denmark.

These requirements are good since your account can’t be hacked and your winnings will go straight to your bank account tax free. However, even though your winnings are exempt from income tax it does not make it tax free.

The money you play with has already been taxed. You pay 25% VAT on all goods in Denmark so you can’t buy anything without contributing to the state. A more important factor is that the rake is subject to 20% gaming tax. If you received 50% rake back before January 2012 you are likely not getting more than 30% now. The operators have passed on the costs to its players and affiliates in order to maintain a profitable business. If you rake $5000 you pay $1000 in taxes directly to the government.

Is the Government’s own sports book, casino & poker room of higher standards than the foreign operators? Has Danske Spil, who formerly had monopoly, with its billions of kroner created a superior and safer product than PokerStars & Party Poker?  These foreign companies have in the past been criticised for being regulated in tiny jurisdictions without proper control, but upon closer examination they offer a higher quality product across all categories.

The answer is surprisingly No! It is likely that Danske Spil could have been forced to close its doors if it wasn’t for its present position in Denmark. This is a bold statement, but nevertheless the truth.

Here are a few facts about Danske Spil which is partly owned by the Danish Government

  • The player support has a five week response time (and counting)
  • The affiliate department has a two week response time
  • The affiliate department lets trainees handle the mail support and once they no longer work there the communication ends
  • The affiliate program does not show casino and poker stats
  • The affiliate program has not paid casino and poker commission in the past eight months.
  • Danske Spil does not have a cash-out option!
  • You only realize how to cash-out when you mail and ask about the missing feature and then you can expect minimum two weeks response time.
  • There are e-mail addresses in the poker client that bounce when you try and contact Danske Spil.

How many international gaming companies would survive provided their services were equally poor? Needless to say, none of them would be left standing.

For many years the Danish Government managed to uphold its monopoly and to protect the Danes from foreign gambling companies on Danish soil. The reality is that a majority of these companies offer a better service than Danske Spil.

According to a friend of mine who works at Danske Spil they have 80% of the Danish sports book market. It will be interesting to see if any operators are able or willing to spend enough to take on Danske Spil and threaten its position.