Press release: CJEU confirms Danish differentiated tax regime for online gambling


Copenhagen, 26 September 2014

Today, the General Court of the EU issued a ruling in State aid cases T-601/11 (Dansk Automat Brancheforening v Commission) and T-615/11 (Royal Scandinavian Casino Århus v Commission), confirming the differentiated Danish tax regime for online gambling (see ruling). The applicants had challenged the European Commission's decision that a differentiated tax regime for on- and offline gambling is compliant with EU State aid rules. The Court found that the land-based applicants are not individually affected by the tax regime. It confirms that Member States can continue to set a tax level for online gambling that takes into account the competitive global .com offer in order to ensure that consumers are channelled to the regulated offer. 

The two cases were brought by land-based applicants against the European Commission’s Decision to approve the Danish taxation model for online and offline gambling, which establishes different taxation levels for the two different types of gambling. The Danish tax level for online gambling was set at a level taking into account the need to channel the Danish consumer towards the regulated online gambling offer which is key in safeguarding the public policy objectives of the Danish Gaming Act. The Court today ruled that such differentiated tax measures are of general application and there is no specific aspect that can demonstrate that the applicants are specifically and individually affected by the tax measure. 

According to the Court:

"[T]he applicant has not demonstrated […] that the aid measure in question was liable to have a substantial adverse effect on the position of one or more of its members on the market concerned. The applicant’s members and, consequently, the applicant are therefore not individually concerned by the contested decision." (T-601/11, para 52)




For more information, please contact: Morten Ronde, CEO of DOGA: +45 2088 7210,  

Background information on the case

In case T-601/11, on 30 November 2011 and in case T-615/11, on 06 December 2011, the applicants submitted a challenge to the Commission Decision of 20 September 2011 in Case No C 35/2010 (ex N 302/2010) on measures which Denmark is planning to implement in the form of duties for online gaming in the Danish Gaming Duties Act.

About DOGA

DOGA is the trade association for online gambling in Denmark. It was established in December 2011 to represent the sector in Denmark and abroad. Its governing body is the Executive Committee which is selected by the full membership every year. Online gambling is the fastest growing sector of the gambling industry. It is a huge business and one of the internet's greatest commercial success stories. Against that background the DOGA is committed to promoting a well-regulated and non-discriminatory Danish environment for responsible licensed operators.



DOGA byder internationalt matchfixing samarbejde velkommen

DOGA hilser Europarådets konvention om match-fixing, som har til formål at forhindre manipulation af sportsresultater velkommen. DOGA står sammen med EGBA, ESSA, og RGA, og mener, at konventionen udgør et relativt positiv og potentielt vigtigt i kampen mod sport og væddemålsrelateret svindel. Samtidig rejser visse bestemmelser i konventionen dog bekymring om deres forenelighed med EU-retten.

Se fulde pressemeddelelse her

DOGA industry welcomes the Council of Europe’s Convention on match-fixing, which aims to prevent the manipulation of sports results. DOGA as an association agrees with EGBA, ESSA, and the RGA, that the convention represents a relatively positive and potentially significant development in the fight against sport and betting related fraud. At the same time, certain provisions raise concerns regarding their compatibility with EU law.

See press release here 

Denmark Scrutinises Betting Operators For Money Laundering Violations

Denmark's gambling regulators will scrutinise gambling operators for potential money-laundering problems after similar cases in the UK, an official said on Thursday.

The concerns in the Nordic state come after UK bookmakers Ladbrokes, Gala Coral, bet365 and casino operator Aspers were warned by the UK Gambling Commission over anti-money laundering failings.

"When you hear about cases like that, you go back and look at your own operators to see if we have the same problem," said Birgitte Sand, director of the Danish Gambling Commission. Sand said she hoped to speak to her UK counterparts for tips on how to best deal with any possible suspicions. She elaborated on her remarks as part of a panel on regulation at the European Association of Gambling Research in Helsinki on Thursday.

The UK commission said that the episodes it highlighted were serious policy failures from which the companies should learn "important lessons".

Sand stressed that she wasn't singling out any specific companies, and no punishments are currently planned. "In the beginning, we are more positive than negative," she told GamblingCompliance.

The European Union is looking to extend money-laundering security checks to all forms of gambling, not just casinos as at present. Such protocol would involve steps including identity checks every time a player logs on to play.

Meanwhile, online operators in Denmark have received a boost from the country’s largest opposition party, which announced plans to sell off the unit of state-owned Danske Spil that competes with commercial operators.

The sale of Danske Licens Spil, which Danish press speculated could generate up to DKK4bn (€540m), was included in the Danish Liberal Party’s proposals for next year’s state budget. The party also proposed privatising Denmark’s oldest lottery, the state-owned Klasselotteriet.

Mads Roervig, the Liberal Party’s chairman of the taxation committee, said: “We believe fundamentally that a state company that works entirely on commercial terms should operate in a free market and Danske Licens Spil is now ready to be sold.”

The Danish Online Gambling Association (DOGA) argues that Danske Licens Spil has an unfair advantage because it can draw on the large database of players who play Danske Spil’s state-owned lottery games.

An investigation by the Danish Competition Authority into the benefits that the state-owned firm has over its online rivals is ongoing.

DOGA chief Morten Ronde said: “The state has nothing to do with a private market. Selling a state company which dominates the market through unfair competition will create a more level playing field. When 31 gaming companies are licensed and one takes 60 percent of the market due to some advantages granted by the law, then there is only a 40 percent left to share for the 30 others."

Henrik Norsk Hoffmann, a Danish gambling law expert, said: “Will it be easy to find an interested buyer for the largest business on the market with the strongest brand? I certainly think that it will, but I also think that it will be difficult for Denmark to get the price they want. The reason for this being mainly the very fuzzy separation between monopolised games and liberalised games, which Danske Spil is exercising.”

The proposal from the Liberal Party will be used to negotiate next year’s budget with the current Social Democrat-led coalition government and the rest of the parliament.

A general election will take place in September 2015, when the Liberal Party will hope to win back a majority in parliament by partnering up with the Conservatives, the Liberal Alliance and the Danish People’s Party. All three parties support the proposal to sell off Danske Licens Spil as part of a wider privatisation drive to raise money for the state, according to the Liberals.

The party lost power after the last election in 2011, despite winning the most votes, as the Social Democrats formed a coalition with two other parties to take the most seats.



Danish Betting Growth Fuelled By World Cup

Danish sports-betting revenue reached an all-time high in the second quarter after a successful football World Cup paid off for the country’s licensed operators.

Danish sports-betting revenue reached an all-time high in the second quarter after a successful
football World Cup paid off for the country’s licensed operators.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) for online and offline sports betting in the Nordic country spiked at DKK445m (€60m), an increase of 33 percent when compared with the same period last year.

The Danish Gambling Authority confirmed the growth was driven by the football World Cup which took place in Brazil in June and July.  But GGR from online casino was also the highest since the opening of the Danish market in January 2012. 

Revenue for online casino ticked up by 8 percent to DKK270m (€36m), consistent with growth seen in recent quarters. But the popularity of online poker continues to decline in Denmark and GGR fell 20 percent to DKK40m (€5m). 

Revenue for the total Danish market was DKK715m (€96m), an increase of 22 percent compared with the second quarter of 2013.

The number of operators has remained at 31 since the opening of the market and together they now hold 15 licences to operate sports betting and 29 for online casino. Ten of the operators that offer online casino in Denmark generated GGR of more than DKK25m in the second quarter, while another ten reported GGR of between DKK5 and DKK255m.

Since the opening of the market, former monopoly Danske Spil has kept its dominant position and is believed to hold around 60 percent of the of the market. At the end of June, Danske Spil acquired 60 percent of CEGO, the company behind, one of the market leaders of online casino. 

Danske Spil told GamblingCompliance at the time that online casino had been an area where the operator had not been strong enough and added that it thinks the segment will continue to grow.  The acquisition will strengthen Danske Spil’s position further in an already competitive market and Thomas Rørsig, head of communications at Danske Spil, said the operator will “keep an eye on the market” for any further acquisitions in the future.

At the beginning of July, Danske Spil conceded it had made its biggest payout ever after Germany’s 7-1 win against Brazil in the semi-final of the World Cup resulted in it dishing out more than DKK8m (€1m) to punters. But Danske Spil said before the World Cup started that it was expecting turnover to increase 45 percent to DKK400m (€54m) compared with the World Cup in South Africa four years ago.

Stockholm-listed Unibet, which has also reported second-quarter numbers, has a strong presence in Denmark and confirmed its growth was driven by a successful World Cup which “provided a significant new all-time high in customer activity”.
Good news was not confined to the online sector, however. Gross gaming revenue for Denmark’s seven land-based casinos increased 6 percent to DKK85m (€11m), the first time in five consecutive quarters that revenue has exceeded the year before.



New DOGA Web Site Launched

The new and improved DOGA web site has been launched. The site is a better and much more flexible site than the existing site and it does among other items include 

- a calendar of industry events 

- a feed of news from the Danish media 

- improved functionalities for members of the Association 

I hope you like the site. All comments for improvements are welcome! 

Morten Ronde, CEO

Danish Market is Thriving but Concerns Loom (DOGA article)

Since the opening of the gambling regime offering open licensing for online gambling in Denmark in 2012, market growth has surpassed all of the Danish government's expectations. But looking more closely at the gambling market figures there are reasons for online operators to be concerned and a significant decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the gambling market-threateting state-aid case looms.

Read More