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Danish regulator warns of illegal gambling challenges with Facebook and skin betting

Danish Gambling Authority Spillemyndigheden has warned of an increasing problem with illegal gambling services offered through Facebook, despite recording a fall in the number of illegal iGaming operators targeting the Danish market.

The Danish Gambling Authority said the decline in the number of illegal gambling websites targeting Danish players indicates a “limited” illegal gambling market in the country.

Working with the Danish Tax Agency’s anti-fraud unit, the regulator blocked 18 unlicensed websites during 2018, the highest figure since the liberalisation of the market in 2012.

This followed web searches of 742 sites during the year, which was broader than usual to ensure that previously legal sites had not changed their content.

“The number of websites with an illegal supply of gambling products that are found through web searches is continuously low,” explained the regulator. “This matches the Danish Gambling Authority’s impression of the illegal market: that still fewer websites with gambling products directed at Denmark appear. However, websites with illegal marketing and promotion of gambling still pose a challenge.

“The majority of websites with illegal marketing and promotion of gambling websites are so-called recommendation sites on which “the 10 best online casinos” are referred to,” the regulator said.

It also noted challenges posed by skin betting and illegal gambling on social media platform Facebook.

“The problem is primarily a matter of Facebook groups in which illegal gambling is provided (often lotteries),” the regulator explained. “Consequently, the Danish Gambling Authority has initiated a cooperation with Facebook on the problem.”

The partnership allows the regulator to report illegal activity directly to Facebook, a move which has seen four Facebook groups closed during 2018 for providing illegal gambling.

The authority also highlighted increasing challenges with games that involve skin betting, with a number of illegal websites using the Steam platform to target players.

“This poses a challenge since Steam is also used for legal games (without stakes), which contributes to involving especially young persons in skin betting,” said the regulator.

Last February a Danish court ordered six skin betting sites to be blocked, having taken the view that the games required a license and that the websites were targeting Danish players via Steam.

The regulator has since initiated an extensive web search of illegal skin betting sites, and has proposed another 20 to 25 sites for ISP blocking.

“In the beginning of 2019, the Danish Gambling Authority expects to take the necessary measures to block more sites where the owners do not comply with the rules after receiving a petition from the Danish Gambling Authority,” the regulator warned. “In accordance with the political agreement, the Danish Gambling Authority will allocate resources [to combat] skin betting and loot boxes in 2019.”

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