|Denmark’s Minister of Taxes has thrown himself into an impossible crusade where all games on the internet will be scrutinised, controlled and regulated. Today, legal ads from the virtual casinos run in Danish magazines and on Websites alike. In other media, you can also find commercials for bookmakers services, where you can bet on football in the UK or Italy. According to the Danish Tax Minister, however, these ads are illegal. Examining the minister’s argument further only adds to the confusion. Though the minister is not targeting the games themselves, he is reprimanding their online ads. In Denmark, it is illegal to run betting services or a casino business without permission. |
The reality of the situation, however, is that it will be nearly impossible to ban commercials for foreign casinos and bookmakers since they work outside of Denmark, in countries that have given them permission to run their respective business. The end result of the minister’s crusade is that anyone owning and running a Danish web site which shows a banner from a foreign bookmaker linking to the site, could run the risk of going to jail and facing charges from the ministry of taxes. Simply running the banner, however, without a link to the site, is fine and does not break Danish law. This week, one of the Danish newspapers has been charged for posting a link to a foreign bookmaker. The editor is now facing a possible jail term. The news web site will also lose DKK100,000 (E13,333) as a result of running the linked ad.
At the root of the problem is Denmark’s half-governmental "Tipstjenesten" lotteries, which haul in a lot of money each week. Part of the revenue is used to support sport and culture lucrative businesses, which the ministry is keen to protect from competitive gaming internet ads. If the Minister of Taxes succeeds in his crusade to control all existing from offering games and bookmaking, Danish taxpayers can expect high costs somewhere along the line. At least 76,000 websites today offer some kind of bookmaking over the internet. The Danish Tax Minister also recently tried to force Danish banks to block transactions via the net both Danish and foreign gaming sites.
The overall message, then, to Danish web sites trying to get some revenue be selling ads to virtual casinos and bookmaking is: you can run the ad, but drop the link!