Danish Court Orders Local ISPs to Block 24 Illegal Gambling Websites

A court has sided with the Danish Gambling Authority, Spillemyndigheden, in a legal case stemming from local Internet service providers’ previous refusal to block access to gambling websites operating illegally in Denmark.

Last year, the gambling regulator urged ISPs to block access to a total of 24 websites operated by gambling firms that had not been issued licenses in Denmark. The sites offered online casino games and sports betting. There were also several of them that featured skin betting options. The regulator said back then that it was particularly concerned by the operations of that latter betting sites as these were known to be targeting minors among other groups of customers.

As Danish ISPs did not block access to the unlicensed websites, Spillemyndigheden brought the matter to court seeking a ruling that would support its request for action against the violators of the country’s gambling law. The Frederiksberg court issued its decision on the matter on January 23, 2018, siding with the regulatory body and ordering that Internet service providers block all 24 websites and prevent them from targeting Danish players.

The government of Denmark approved its current gambling regulatory framework in June 2010. The new law took effect on January 1, 2012, thus opening the local market to operators that have obtained licenses from the local regulator.

It can be said that the country’s regulated market has generally been growing at a stable pace since it was established. According to the latest figures provided by Spillemyndigheden, the Danish gambling market was worth DKK4.357 billion in terms of revenue generated during the first three quarters of 2017, up from DKK4.191 billion during the same period of 2016. Revenue from online casino games increased to DKK1.329 billion from DKK1.153 billion.

Online Gambling Attitudes in Scandinavia

Denmark is currently the only Scandinavian country to have opened its market to international operators. Sweden is currently in the process of regulating its market in a manner that would allow foreign gambling companies to target local players in a regulated environment.

The country submitted what would be its new legal framework for review and necessary approval from the European Commission late last year. It is believed that the new regulatory regime will take effect at the beginning of 2019.

Unlike its neighbor, Norway and Finland are firmly determined to keep the existing monopoly on gambling. At present, only state-run entities are allowed to provide gambling services to local players. Both Norwegian and Finnish lawmakers have pointed out that the current regime is the one that provides the best possible protection to gambling customers, and therefore there is no need for the status quo to change.

While Finland, as a EU member state, has faced and could face pressure from EU authorities in future to change its stance on online gambling, it is generally up to Norwegian lawmakers to determine the future of the country’s gambling market as it is not a member of the European Union.

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