Denmark legislators move to restrict gambling bonus offers

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Jesper Petersen, a Social Democrat MP in Denmark, revealed the legislators’ concern over the spiraling gambling bonus offers. He said in television interview that online gambling sign-up bonus offers, especially those through television promos, were getting out of control. He pointed out that some operators provide bonuses as high as DKK10k (US$1,640). According to Petersen, bonuses should have a ceiling, ideally around DKK1k.

Last week, Social Democrats have received support in the in the issue of sign-up bonus restriction from Danish People’s Party (DPP) too. But the DPP has not specified any conditions of restriction.

The Red-Green Alliance is fine with the Social Democrats’ proposed ceiling of DKK1k bonus cap. But they would also want greater transparency of proceeding, especially in operators’ requirements for punters to turn over the bonus funds multiple times before being able to withdraw any winnings generated via the use of those bonus funds.

The Socialist People’s Party, on the other hand, wants stricter regulation. They demand a total ban on sign-up bonus offers and term the proposed bonus reduction plan “unambitious”.

Petersen did not subscribe to the demand for total ban, as he fears a total bonus ban might encourage Danish-licensed international sites to resume their Danish licenses and return to their unauthorised Danish-facing operations. He says: “… and then we will get more game ads with bigger bonuses, without anything we can do about it.”

The real reason behind the push to restrict bonus offers is the theory that problem gamblers are particularly susceptible to these types of promotions. According to a study by the National Research and Analysis Center for Welfare (VIVE), there are roughly 125k Danish adults who have gambling problems, while 10k adults are considered gambling addicts, a 60% rise from 2005.

The 2017 annual report from Denmark’s Spillemyndigheden regulatory body showed locally licensed online gambling operators accounting for over half of total market revenue last year. The number of Danes who signed up for the regulator’s problem gambling self-exclusion programme shot up 46% last year, although the regulator cautioned that much of this rise was related to wider marketing of the programme’s existence.