|Denmark's government's plans for limiting foreign bookmakers could contravene European Union rules on restrictive practice. Despite this, the proposals look set to become law. The so called 'tips law' is designed to protect the State's betting monopoly from the online competition.|
According to its supporters, the move would help preserve the nation's 'unique sports culture,' through continued state subsidies. Critics claim the government is preserving an illegal monopoly, and that this could threaten local jobs. The government's plans have also come under criticism from Denmark's horse racing industry.
With an annual turnover of over DKK 6 billion ($0.87 billion), and profits of DKK 2.4 billion ($0.39 billion), state-owned betting company Tipstjeneste currently controls all Denmark's offline betting outlets. The government claims this is in the country's interests, as the revenues generated would otherwise be lost to foreign betting sites.
The government's proposals will restrict the activities of foreign bookmakers by outlawing their advertisements in the Danish media. They will also make it illegal for such companies to employ people in Denmark.
Those affected would include Danes currently working for foreign bookmakers, and newspapers and Internet sites relying on cash from their advertisements - including the weekly newspaper 'Tipstjeneste,' one of the government's staunchest critics.
One employee who would be affected by the measures, Kresten Buch, who provides local sports information to the English website Sportingbet, said 'We are doing nothing that the government itself does not do through Tipstjeneste', he told the newspaper Urban. 'For heavens sake, we are only giving our opinion on who will win a football match. I already have plans to protect myself economically. I am ready to look at the possibilities of moving my economic interests abroad.'