Danish regulated gaming market shrinks for the first time in 2020

Gross gaming revenue in Denmark slipped 8.7% year-on-year in 2020, with the closure of retail facilities due to novel coronavirus (Covid-19) causing the first yearly decline since regulation of the market in 2012.

Figures released by national gambling regulator Spillemyndigheden showed that revenue in 2020 amounted to DKK6.00bn (£701.2m/€806.7m/$966.0m), down from DKK6.57bn in the previous year.

Revenue had climbed steadily ever since regulation in 2012, but the closure of land-based gambling facilities, coupled with the cancellation and postponement of many sports events as a result of Covid-19, meant the market suffered is first year-on-year decline.

Online casino overtook sports betting to become the primary source of gambling income, for the first time since regulation, with revenue here rising by 4.5% to DKK2.45bn.

Spillemyndigheden said this was due to players switching to igaming while land-based facilities were closed, but noted that the 4.5% increase was lower than the average annual increase of 13.0% since regulation in 2012.

“One might have expected that there would have been a marked increase in online casino games when the physical gaming halls and casinos were closed down and the opportunities to bet on sports were severely limited,” Spillemyndigheden director Anders Dorph said.

“However, that is far from the case. Although online casino increased a bit, it is the smallest increase since 2012, and it therefore far outweighs the massive decline we have seen in the other areas.”

Revenue in all other sectors was down as a result of Covid-19 retail closures and significant disruption to the sports calendar both in Denmark and overseas.

Sports betting revenue declined 8.9% year-on-year to DKK2.29bn, while retail slot machine revenue dropped 29.3% to DKK986.0m. Revenue at land-based casinos was also down 31.7% to DKK239.0m.

Figures for monopoly lotteries and non-profit lotteries were not available and as such were not included in the final total.

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