Danish Gambling Revenue Declined in Q1

Denmark’s regulated gambling revenue fell 15.3% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2021, following the closure of Denmark’s casinos, gaming halls and restaurant casinos from December 9th, 2020 as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Online casinos generated record results, however these were not enough to offset retail losses.

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Denmark’s regulated gambling revenue fell 15.3% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2021, due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic forcing shut virtually all of the country’s physical gambling venues. ©Jonny_Joka/Pixabay

Delay in Reopening Meant No Physical Retail Revenue Was Recorded

The overall gambling revenue produced by Denmark’s regulated physical gambling offerings fell during the first quarter of 2021, despite online casinos and iGaming generating record results.

Statistics for Q1 2021 released by the Danish Gambling Authority, also known as Spillemyndigheden, revealed that the country’s regulated gambling revenue fell 15.3% year-on-year during the year’s first quarter.

Overall revenue for the three months leading up to March 31st, 2021 dropped down to DKK1.31bn (£152.3m/€175.5m/$212.7m), largely as a result of all of Denmark’s casinos, gaming halls and restaurant casinos being closed starting from December 9th, 2020 due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Physical gambling venues were initially scheduled to reopen on February 28th, 2021, yet a sudden spike in new coronavirus (Covid-19) cases delayed the reopening of physical venues until at least April 5th.

This delay in Denmark’s reopening schedule meant that Danish gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden was unable to report any revenue from brick-and-mortar casinos or land-based slots in Q1 2021.

Online Casino Grew in Q1 2021; Not Enough to Offset Losses

While revenue from Denmark’s brick-and-mortar casinos and physical slots fell due to widespread closures lasting well into April 2021, the country’s iGaming market experienced some healthy growth during Q1 — most notably in online casinos.

During the first quarter of 2021, overall revenue for online casinos increased by 28.7% compared to the same period in 2020, totaling DKK717 million. This significant increase represents a new record for the gambling vertical, while also marking a 7.7% improvement when compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.

Danish gambling regulator Spillemyndigehen noted, however, that this increase in online casino revenue could not necessarily be attributed to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

This is because the increase in online casinos revenue did not fully match the revenue and player declines in the country’s land-based gambling market over the same time period.

Furthermore, there was also no breakdown of revenue by product available in Spillemyndigehen’s Q1 2021 statistics at the time of writing (May 4th, 2021).

Lastly, the first quarter of the year also saw a decline in Danish sports betting revenue, coinciding with a period during which retail sports betting was, naturally, unavailable. Revenue for this industry was down 7.4% when compared to Q1 2020, leveling out at DKK588 million, while also being down 18.8% compared to the final quarter of 2020.

Danish Players Continued to Self-Exclude During Q1 2021

Pivoting away from Denmark’s gambling revenue performance during Q1 2021 and over to its player protection measures, the country’s national self-exclusion system Register Over Frivilligt Udelukkede Spillere (Rofus) recorded 27,962 individuals who signed up to self-exclude themselves from gambling by the end of Q1.

Of all these individuals who signed up to Denmark’s national self-exclusion system, 18,050 elected to permanently block their access to gambling, while another 9,912 chose to exclude themselves for periods ranging between one and six months.

In the meantime, Denmark’s problem gambling hotline StopSpillet received 1,305 calls from various parties during the first quarter of 2021. 

The majority of these calls originated from gamblers themselves, followed closely by their friends and family, as well as treatment professionals, before finally three calls were made by players experiencing problems with computer game addiction.

Danish Gambling Market Shrunk for First Time in 2020

The somewhat troubling performance of Denmark’s physical gambling market during Q1 2021 arrives shortly after the country’s market experienced its first full-year decline in revenue in 2020 ever since the market was re-regulated in 2012.

Overall revenue for the 12 months leading up to December 31st, 2020 was down 8.7% year-on-year, with a total of DKK6 billion being recorded after the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic forced virtually all land-based offerings to shut down for the majority of the year.

Sports betting also plummeted during the year’s second quarter, due to the global pandemic forcing countless sporting events around the world to either be suspended or canceled entirely.

Similar to the first quarter of 2021, online casinos overtook sports betting to become the primary source of gambling income in Denmark for the very first time since the market’s regulation in 2012, with the sector’s revenue rising by 4.5% up to DKK2.45 billion.

Denmark’s gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden said this was due to players migrating over to iGaming because all land-based facilities were closed, while simultaneously noting that this 4.5% increase was lower than the average annual increase of 13% since market regulation in 2012.

Gambling Hall Shutdown Was Extended till April 2021

Much of Denmark’s drop in physical gambling revenue in both 2020 and Q1 2021 can be attributed to the long-lasting and widespread shutdown of virtually all physical gambling venues in the country due to the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

A beacon of light shone through when early indications were made that certain sectors of the country’s economy and society could potentially open up in early 2021, only to be extinguished by a sudden spike in new coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.

This prompted the Danish government to extend certain aspects of its national lockdown in efforts to prevent a third wave of infections, which therefore meant that all of Denmark’s physical gambling hall locations would have to remain shut until April 5th, 2021.

Prior to this, all physical gambling locations were initially shut on a temporary basis in December 2020, as part of national lockdown measures being extended to at least February 28th, 2021.

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