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Denmark amends legislation to liberalise online bingo and racing markets

The Danish government has notified the European Commission of proposed changes to its gambling legislation that would liberalise the online bingo and racing markets.

The proposed changes would allow any licensed operator to offer online bingo as well as betting on horse, dog and pigeon racing, with a special fund established to promote the horse racing industry.

This fund would receive 8 per cent of the gross value of bets placed on Danish horse racing during a "transitional period" of up to five years to help develop the horse racing industry, which has been in decline since 2007.
According to the government, significant numbers of Danes participate in offshore online bingo illegally, with the liberalisation designed to channel players to the regulated market. It is estimated that the illegal online bingo market is twice the size of the regulated monopoly bingo offering.

The authorisation to offer online bingo games (including via television) will be added to existing online casino licences and taxed at the same rate as other games (20 per cent of NGR), while land-based bingo will continue to be reserved for non-profit organisations.

Meanwhile, the liberalisation of the horse racing market, which has until now also been a monopoly of Danske Spil, is designed to reverse the falling interest in the sport. The liberalisation will include the introduction of fixed-odds betting to replace the current pools-only system and will be covered by existing sports betting licences at the same tax rate (20 per cent).The act as a proposed effective date of January 1st, 2018. It was notified to the European Commission on March 1st, 2017, and is subject to a standstill period ending June 2nd, 2017.

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