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The Danish gambling market saw revenue fall by 5% year-on-year in the third quarter, according to the latest figures from the Danish Gambling Authority (Spillemyndigheden).
The contraction is thought to be down to reduced sporting events during the covid-19 pandemic, and a fall in online casino gaming – possibly as a result of ongoing financial uncertainty.
The country’s gross gambling revenue (GGR) for the three months to 30 September was DKK1.53bn (£184.2m/€205.9m/$244.4m), down on the same quarter last year but up 32.1% from the second quarter of the year.
During the second quarter, the country was placed under a national lockdown, which closed sporting events but would also have reduced the earning potential of many individuals as has been the case across Europe, and the world, this year.
While sporting events had restarted by the third quarter, revenue in the vertical was down 11.1% compared to the same period in 2019. Sports betting revenue was DKK558m, a rise of 49.6% quarter-on-quarter but still short of the previous year’s income.
A Danish Gambling Authority spokesperson suggested this may be down to the fact that the Danish 2020/21 Superliga football season was delayed by eight weeks, only kicking off on 13 September and consequently missing most of the third quarter.
Online casino also had a tough quarter, posting GGR of DKK555m, which marked 2% decrease on the same quarter in 2019.
After a bumper second quarter, due to a lack of sports betting opportunities, casino saw a 17.5% drop from DKK673m in the second quarter.
Online slots were responsible for the majority of Q3 revenue at DKK416m (75.0%), while roulette brought in DKK53m (9.5%) and blackjack trailed with DKK38m (6.8%).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, mobile betting was responsible for a touch more than half of revenue at DKK280m (50.1%). Retail betting still managed more than a third at DKK198m, while betting on laptops accounted for DKK81m (14.5%)
Surprisingly, Denmark’s land-based casinos reported year-on-year growth, with revenue up 6.1% year-on-year to DKK87m. This was also a significant jump from DKK16m in the second quarter.
Denmark’s national self-exclusion system, Register Over Frivilligt Udelukkede Spillere (Rofus), revealed that 24,231 players had voluntarily blocked access to gambling platforms by 30 September. This marked a 3.2% increase on the second quarter, ending 30 June.
The performance of the Danish market during the pandemic may cast extra doubt on neighbouring Sweden’s theory that gambling would sky-rocket during the pandemic.
Swedish authorities chose to intact extra responsible gambling measures during the pandemic, including a 5000SEK (£43/€48/$57) loss limit.
Many have argued that the effect of this would be to push vulnerable players to the black market where there are few, in any, responsible gambling protections at all.
Speaking to iGaming Future last week Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary-general of BOS, the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, said although it may be “quite tempting” to accept the Swedish government’s theory that gambling would increase, “this rise didn’t occur.”
Hoffstedt added: “Whether you prefer to view it from a customer protection angle or a taxation level, regardless, it’s difficult to find rational reasons.”