Gambling Revenue Falls by 5% in Denmark

A decrease in revenue for the first quarter of 2020 has been reported by the Danish Gaming Authority and comes after land-based venues were closed by COVID-19. Spillemyndigheden, the Danish regulator has announced that the market has experienced a drop of 5% on the figures from the first quarter of 2019 after recently declaring that casino closures had not led to more online gambling.

A row of slot machines in a casino.

The closure of land-based casinos in Denmark after the outbreak of COVID-19 has not led to a significant rise in the numbers of players gambling online, according to the Danish gambling regulator. ©stokpic/Pixabay

Overall, the total amount of money taken in the market for both online and land-based gambling decreased to DKK1.53 billion, equivalent to €205.7 million. The second-largest contributor to this figure was online casino, which represented DKK555.1 million of the revenue from the market during the quarter. Despite this, this still experienced a drop of 1.1% compared to the same figure from the first quarter of 2019.

Of the money that was taken by online casino, the majority of it came from online slot games, which made up DKK410.5 million of this figure. This represents 74% of the total amount taken by online casino in Denmark which is an increase of 2.5% on the return from the first quarter of 2019. Despite this rise, other areas were not so successful.

Roulette experienced an 11.1% decrease in the revenue it generated compared to the same period during the previous year. This game generated DKK50.3 million during quarter one of 2020. Blackjack also generated less money than it did during the previous year, with its revenue dropping to DKK39.5 million.

Online Gambling Falls During Lockdown

In addition to the fall in revenue in the online gambling market over the first quarter of the year, the Danish regulatory authority has also reported a decline in the online gambling rate in the country, even after the implementation of lockdown policy to counteract the impact of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

During the period from the 9th of March to the 3rd of May 2020, the Danish regulator reported a slight increase in the weekly online casino revenue compared to the same period of 2019. On average this grew by 2%, and one week was as high as a 3% increase compared to the previous year.

The director of the Danish gambling regulator, Morten Niels Jakobsen released a statement on these findings in which he detailed the serious effect that the lockdown has had on the land-based gambling sector. Whilst there has been some increase in the number of people gambling online, these increases have not mitigated the lost revenue from the land-based market.

One area that experienced losses that have not been accounted for in the online market is betting on gaming machines, according to Jakobsen.

The director of the regulatory body also emphasized the difficulty in measuring the effect that the outbreak of COVID-19 was having on the gambling market in Denmark whilst the crisis is still ongoing. He did suggest that the decrease caused by the closure of casinos has not caused a significant increase in the number of people gambling on online casino.

Spillemyndigheden also pointed out that the figures for the online gambling rates in Denmark are expected to rise each year when the circumstances are not as uncertain as they are at the moment. At present, however, it doesn’t seem that lockdown has led to a rise in the number of people playing online casino games.

The regulator pointed to the statistics for the online gambling market between 2018 and 2019. During this period, the online casino market saw an increase of 8% on its gross gaming revenue. This increase has led the regulator to conclude that any increases in online gambling rates at the moment cannot be attributed to the outbreak of COVID-19.

This conclusion has led the regulator to announce that there has not been a move from land-based gambling to online gambling in Denmark, despite concerns amongst those in the industry that this would be the case at the beginning of the lockdown.

There has also not been an increase in the numbers of players self-excluding from gambling using the national self-exclusion register, Rofus. There have also been fewer calls to the country’s problem gambling helpline in March and April compared to the same months in the previous years. These findings bode well for gambling during the lockdown period and problem gambling in Denmark.

The StopSpillet gaming addiction program was unveiled at the end of last year and has been an effective helpline for those struggling with a gambling addiction in Denmark. These recent drops in phone calls are encouraging for those running the program as they indicate that problem gambling is not on the rise.

Sharp Decline in Sports Betting

The slight increase in online casino play has been drastically offset by the steep drop in the revenue from the sports betting market.

Here, the cancelation of nearly all professional sports after the outbreak of the virus had a severe effect on revenue. Online sports betting revenue experienced a decrease of an average of 53%. Each week has been worse than the last, with revenue decreasing regularly right up to the last period of measurement. The largest weekly drop was 60% below that of the same period during 2019.

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