Danish Licence: Casino Industry in the Happiest Country in the World

Danish Licence: Casino Industry in the Happiest Country in the World

Updated 10 february 2023

Despite its relatively small area, Denmark is showing excellent results in economic and social development. No further than 5 years ago, it was recognised as the happiest in the world.

Local casino licensing can also be called one of the most successful examples of the harmonious development and improvement of the domestic economy. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, the gambling industry increased its turnover by 28.65%.

Danish licence for a casino

The Online Casino Market team constantly monitors current market trends. We have gathered comprehensive information on the structure of the sector and the latest legal reforms.

In this article, we will tell you how to get one of the most prestigious gambling permits in the world, how much does it cost, and what prospects this document can open.

The History of Local Casino Industry

Since 1948, the country's casino market has existed as a state monopoly. To control the industry, a special organisation was created ― Danske Spil. It is successfully operating to this day.

Until the 90s, the casino sector included gambling halls with slots where bets were placed and winnings were paid in nominal currency.

Due to the monopolisation of the market, underground activities were a very common phenomenon in Denmark. As a rule, illegal clubs were organised in bars. Moreover, casino games were not played for cash ― bets were placed with the use of matches or scraps of paper. Only at the end of the game session, the “prize” was exchanged for real money in accordance with special payout tables.

A large-scale restructuration took place in 1990. The country not only allowed private entrepreneurs to provide their services but also opened the market for foreign investors.

True, the requirements for businessmen were very strict and even stringent. For example, every foreign agent who wanted to enter the market had to register a company and become a resident of Denmark. The reform led to the massive opening of gambling establishments in hotels, the owners of which acted as partners of gambling enterprises.

In 2003, the government began to regulate the online industry by completely closing the digital market to foreign operators. Moreover, the authorities not only began to block the resources of foreign providers but also obliged local banks to service credit cards that were used to place online bets.

The reform of the digital sector took place only in 2010, and the Danish online casino licence became available to foreign entrepreneurs in 2012.

Despite the introduction of a more loyal policy, the Danske Spil monopoly reserved the right to organise:

  • lotteries;
  • bingo games;
  • bets on horse, dog, and pigeon racing, as well as on virtual sports.

Even with tough requirements for applicants and an increased tax rate for foreign entrepreneurs, the local gambling permit remains one of the most prestigious in the world.

How to Obtain a Casino Licence in Denmark: Legal Nuances

Casino licence in Denmark: legal nuances

The local market is regulated by the Gambling Office, which is controlled by the Ministry of Justice.

An interesting feature is that this licence works for both land-based and online segments.

With one document, you can launch a casino on the Web, organise an offline gambling hall with slot machines or establish a full-scale casino with hotels, entertainment venues, and the related infrastructure.

The main legislative provisions that control the operation of the gambling sector

Operation mode

In Denmark, a gambling licence is a single document that regulates the following types of entertainment:

  • card games;
  • dice;
  • slot machines (including land-based equipment);
  • poker.

Entrepreneurs do not need to obtain separate permits for each type of gambling activity

Betting industry control

Sports betting operators can work in both land-based and digital segments with a single licence.

Businessmen can offer all types of sports betting except dog and horse racing and virtual sports. These areas remain under the jurisdiction of the state monopoly

The validity period of the certificate

The Danish casino licence is issued for 10 years. Operators of virtual platforms must renew the permit every 5 years.

One of the peculiarities of the local market is that you can purchase a specialised permit that is granted to enterprises with limited audience coverage or a tight budget. Such a document must be renewed annually

Licensing restrictions

There are no limits on the number of issued permits.

It is not necessary to become the country’s resident to work in Denmark. It is enough to have the citizenship of one of the parts of the European Union or the European Economic Area or have a representative who is a Danish resident

Basic Requirements for Applicants

The local regulator puts forward quite serious demands that operators must fulfil. For example, to launch an online casino licensed in Denmark, entrepreneurs should provide the authorities with at least 8 certificates for each unit of software (including notarized results of independent audit examinations and confirmation of the existence of ISO 27001 network security compliance protocols).

To enter the local market, casino owners must meet the following criteria:

  • be of legal age (over 21 years old);
  • have no criminal record (the relevant certificate must cover a period of at least 6 months before the application is filed);
  • have no financial debts to the state;
  • permanently reside in the country, have citizenship of one of the EU states or hire a CEO who is a resident of Denmark;
  • provide the regulator with evidence of sufficient financial capabilities to run a successful business.

The standard application processing time is 3–6 months.

The local regulator also prescribes several mandatory rules for owners of land-based gambling projects:

  • paid admission to the territory of the establishment (the minimum fee ― from 14 dollars);
  • limited open and closed hours (the location should receive visitors no more than 14 hours a day);
  • register of clients (all of them must have special membership cards);
  • age control (casinos, betting shops, and gambling halls with slot machines cannot be visited by gamblers under the age of 21).

How Much Does a Danish Casino Licence Cost?

The regulator issues gambling permits of 3 types:

  • individual certificates for opening betting shops or casinos;
  • combined licences;
  • limited permits.

Each of the documents has its tariff scale:

  1. Autonomous licence. Regardless of the chosen business area (gambling halls, betting shops or online platforms), the acquisition of this document will cost about 40 thousand euros.
  2. Combined permit. To open a casino in Denmark and establish the sports betting business simultaneously, operators will have to pay about 55 thousand euros.
  3. Annual limited certificate. The cost of this licence is calculated on the basis of the company's GGR. For enterprises with revenues of up to 670 thousand euros, the permit will cost about 7,800 euros.
  4. Tax rate. Casino operators pay 2 types of duties: income tax (45% for the land-based segment and 20% for online projects) and corporate tax of 25% of the remaining amount of money after the previous commission was paid.

Renewal of the Industry Control Program 2021

Danish gambling control program: renewal in 2021

One of the latest innovations in the Danish market is the introduction of restrictions on the operation of the offline segment. 8 enterprises are now officially registered in the country. The new provider can only enter the local market if one of the existing licensees will cease his activities.

The most essential legislative amendments that were introduced in 2021:

  1. Increase in the tax rate. Since January, the tax for online providers has been raised to 28% of GGR. According to forecasts of the Ministry of Justice, such a decision will increase tax receipts by more than 22 million dollars.
  2. Simplified licensing program. The local Commission has simplified the application form for those who want to obtain a gambling permit. To launch a turnkey casino with a local licence, it is enough to fill out a special digital form.
  3. The introduction of game limits. From January 2021, in order to start a turnkey casino in Denmark, operators must provide their customers with tools that can be used to independently set daily, weekly, and monthly limits.
  4. Updated identification system. The new identity authentication rules for users are aimed at fighting against money laundering and protecting the rights of minors. Now, gambling establishments will be able to receive only those visitors who have a special player card.
  5. Restrictions on advertising. For the period of the pandemic, operators are obliged to limit marketing campaigns on television, radio, and the Internet. Advertising messages must contain information on the risks associated with casino games.

The Main Things about the Danish Market

The country is considered one of the most economically developed and stable. All types of casino entertainment here are legal, and the market contains both a state monopoly and private enterprises, including foreign providers.

  • The local casino licence is considered one of the best in the world. The regulator has very strict requirements for applicants, which makes the market structure completely transparent and safe.
  • There is a separate type of licence for operators with small initial capital and limited audience. Such a permit is issued for online commerce, must be renewed every year, and is designed for entrepreneurs with total annual revenues of less than 670 thousand euros.
  • A simplified licensing program came into effect in 2021. The Gambling Commission has developed and implemented a special digital application. The document consists of 2 parts and allows you to obtain a new licence or renew a valid one.
  • The local permit covers all types of entertainment. Having received a single document, operators can launch online platforms or gambling halls with slots, offer card games, and organise tournaments. The state monopoly applies only to horse and dog racing and lotteries.
For more detailed information on the implementation of gambling projects in the EU, please contact Online Casino Market specialists.

We will not only tell you how to obtain a Danish casino licence with minimal risks but also provide support at all stages of business organisation ― from the collection of documents and application filing to the integration of software from the world’s best vendors.

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Karen Fill


Karen Fill

Gambling business expert at Online Casino Market

Updated 10 february 2023

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