Juegos Miami: Work with licensees to beat illegal market

Juegos Miami: Work with licensees to beat illegal market

Friday, March 11, 2016 Totally Gaming
Birgitte Sand will tell attendees about Denmark's experience in launching its online market

Regulators must be strong, organised and willing to listen to a variety of voices if they are to create the conditions for a successful and well run gaming market, according to Birgitte Sand, director of Denmark’s gambling authority.

Sand will be one of the many expert speakers at this year’s Juegos Miami event, where she will share Spillemyndigheden’s experience of liberating the Scandinavian country’s gambling market at a time when many Latin American and Caribbean nations are on the verge of taking similar steps.  

Denmark, a nation with a population of 5.6 million, launched its licensed regime in 2012 and in the ensuing years has experienced steady growth of around 10 per cent to an estimated revenue of DKK8.3bn (€1.1bn/$1.3bn) in 2015, with a similarly moderate rise in the number of operators. 

Sand believes the key to this temperate progress – which has appeased both licensees and opponents of the sector – has been the authority’s willingness to work with stakeholders while also flexing its muscle.

“My No.1 piece of advice would be to get organised - focus on getting the best possible people on board and build a strong authority that is able to establish the necessary relations with all relevant stakeholders, including industry,” Sand said.

“Our task from the start was to implement the new legislation and establish a legal market consisting of licensees being compliant and understanding the Danish approach to gambling - the Danish Model - in a way that there would be no room for illegal gambling.

“From the very beginning, we have had a constructive and valuable dialogue with the industry and all important stakeholders and a great co-operation with other gambling authorities disarming most of the many new issues that we were not familiar with back in 2012.”

Spillemyndigheden is an independent government agency residing under the Danish Ministry of Taxation, whose mission, according to Sand, is to ensure a “well regulated gambling market where players are protected against unfair and illegal gambling activities”. 

The authority is charged with administration and granting of licences, supervision of gambling providers and the market and the gathering of knowledge about international gambling developments. While the organisation does not have responsibility in relation to growth, Sand said the success of the regulated sector is beneficial if it means less opportunity for an illegal market to flourish.

“Looking at the latest statistics for the total Danish gambling market, it may be concluded that the market has developed in a quite stable manner - earnings are still higher all in all and consequently so is the spending per adult," she said.

“The number of licences has been quite stable and the pay out ratio the operators offer is quite high. This is one of the elements that leaves very little room for the illegal offering of games which is a very satisfactory situation when it comes to the protection of players.”

Sand will appear in a European regulators’ roundtable concentrating on best practice at Juegos Miami, while also leading a session focusing on Denmark’s experiences of ‘regulating and operating safe and secure poker and fantasy sports business online’. She added that the rise of the fantasy sports sector is a good illustration of why regulators most be flexible enough to deal with market changes. 

“Regarding fantasy sports, the first thing that comes to my mind is that, as a regulator, you have to be constantly aware of new developments in the gambling industry,” she said. “Whether its fantasy sports or other games coming up or showing a market growth, a regulator must consider what might be the next type of game to be launched and how that may influence their regulatory framework and the protection of the players.

“In relation to the Danish market, poker would most likely not have had the same earnings in the market if it had not been for our legislation allowing for shared liquidity - so shared liquidity is one relevant issue.

“Hopefully, my Juegos Miami session will be an honest, interesting and useful insight into the Danish gambling regulation and how to successfully launch a liberalised, legal online market.”

- Juegos Miami takes place at The Biltmore, Coral Gables from May 31 to June 3. To apply for your invitation* visit www.juegosmiami.com and to find out more, follow @JuegosMiami on Twitter and visit the event’s Facebook page for further information and the latest updates.

* Attendance at Juegos Miami will be limited to senior decision makers (owner, director, C-Level exec) from operating companies (private and public including state lotteries), government and regulators from the Latin America and Caribbean region.

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