'' Jens Boye | Interview | BetXpert | Denmark | Sports Betting
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Jens Boye
Chief Editor

Malta, November 2007
I have been friends with Jens since November 2004 where we both happened to move from the same collegium in Copenhagen to Malta. Jens was the first I became friends with in Malta and my company at the time was partner with Betxpert.com where he was and still is chief editor and director of the company.
We did not know each other from the collegium but soon met up in Malta and started playing football together with Bet24. I did not know the Danes from Bet24 but Jens did and invited me along to play everytime there was a free spot. From there we just became better friends and I have lost count on how many nights we spend on Native in Paceville together and toured in various cities in Europe at affiliate conferences together.
Jens is a good friend, a solid football player and primarily bet on French football. Jens Boye currently lives in Malta with his fiancé. 
Online Poker has been in decline since UIGEA & Black Friday. Has the bookmakers been affected by that as well?
Well, obviously UIGEA meant a lot for the big bookmakers - because they had a lot of American customers. But I think most of them more or less recovered by focusing on Europe and then Asia.

As for Black Friday - well, in the sense that most bookmakers also have a poker room, sure, they have been affected by the decline in poker. But that decline was coming anyway, no? Come on - let´s be honest. Poker never had more than a short boom potential. But then, I was never a poker fan
It is widely believed that the various Government's ring fences is killing online poker rapidly. Bookmakers have with the licenses been able to legally get into new markets but is it a change for the better or worse for bookies and the punters?

I work with the Danish market, so let me focus on that area in my reply: 

The license system in Denmark opened in January 2012. What we have seen is that the bookmakers who have obtained a license in Denmark are paying through the nose for it, in license fees and taxes. But on the other hand they are getting a lot of new customers. 

Well, at least some of the companies. Some have flourished, but some have handled the transition into the Danish market very badly (for example by choosing not to advertise or do campaigns; they just sit and wait for the customers - who of course then go somewhere else).

The point is that quite a few people have stopped using non-licensed bookies and given their business to the licensed ones. And also, a lot of customers who didn´t really do online betting before, are doing it now. Not just because there´s more marketing going on now in Denmark (there was a lot of that already, even if it actually was illegal), but mainly because there´s a feeling that you can now do your betting safely. Guaranteed by the state.

Which is part true, part horse shit. See below.

Has something changed for the better for the sports betting community? 

For the average Danish customer it has changed for the better. Now you have the state making sure that the bookmakers are financially sound, that they don´t suddenly fold and pour the customers´ money down a black hole. Something which Malta, for example, has never been able to do... (look at the bankruptcies under the "watchful" eyes of LGA).

But that´s where the buck stops. So far the Danish state has done almost (to be fair, they have allocated some money to addiction treatment) nothing about anything else, nothing to make sure that the customers are treated fairly. 

Sure, there are rules about proper marketing but they are not being followed or enforced. There have been examples of bookmakers calling a list of low odds "safe bets". A blatant attempt to take advantage of young and inexperienced punters who are looking for easy money. And what do the authorities say when people complain? That the bookmaker probably just meant that betting is safe now with the new license system...

I kid you not. This is how much the authorities look out for their gambling citizens.

And what happened when Unibet bought Bet24 and the long term bets were voided? Unibet may have softened it´s initial strong arm policy in the end, helped by the bad publicity, but not because of pressure from the authorities who kept silent.

Apparently the state doesn´t care - as long as it get´s it´s tax money.

And so that´s what the Danish bettors get, courtesy of the new license system: 

Smaller risk of loosing their money because of bankruptcy. But also fewer bookmakers to choose between than before - and of course odds that are less attractive.

The silver lining for experienced punters is that they can still place bets with non-licensed bookmakers. The authorities have begun internet blocking and will probably try to stop bank transfers as well. But both can be circumvented. The measures will stop the average Internet user (and that´s all the state wants, really) but not the experienced ones.
Pentasia Cup Winners 2008
Malta, June 2008

Is there any major changes under its way or is it steady sailing for sports book? Do you see a change in patterns or trends for online book makers?

Steady sailing, absolutely. Towards fewer and fewer bookmakers. We have already seen some mergers, and there will probably be more of those. So the customers will have even less to chose between.