Denmark Lost Interest in Sports Betting as 2021 Came to a Close

Denmark’s gambling regulator, Spillemyndigheden, issued a quarterly report last week for the last quarter of 2021. The country’s gaming industry took a 3.9% year-on-year dip, with sports betting dropping the most.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark
A frozen river flows alongside Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark. Despite the cold weather in the winter, Danes didn’t spend all their time inside, with land-based casinos increasing their activity. (Image: Peakpx)

Typically, November means cold and dreary weather for the Danes. It would be a good time for most gamblers to visit online sites as they hunker down. However, this wasn’t the case across the board in the fourth quarter of last year.

Although iGaming activity in the country rose a little, sports betting fell out of favor a lot. This dragged the overall online gaming market down a few notches from where it stood a year earlier. Denmark is breaking convention by reporting decreases in online gaming and not increases.

Danes Slow Sports Betting Interest

In Spillemyndigheden’s update from last week, the regulator indicated that revenue from sports betting dropped in the fourth quarter of 2021. For the same period a year earlier, the market was worth DKK 726 million (US$107.73 million). However, it lost 18.3% last quarter, reporting DKK 583 million (US$86.51 million).

Overall, the sports betting market ticked upward last year, however. The full-year total for 2020 was DKKK2.29 billion (US$339.83 million), but increased to DKK2.41 billion (US$357.4 million) in 2021. Attributing to the 5.1% boost was a busy schedule, including the long-overdue EUFA Euro 2020.

The fourth-quarter performance was still slightly better than it was for the third quarter. Spillemyndigheden reported DKK577 million (US$85.57 million) for the period, a 2.8% year-on-year increase.

iGaming Continues to Find Interest

Online casinos still continued to be popular, even if sports betting trickled down. The sector took in DKK723 million (US$107.3 million) in the quarter, an increase of 7.16%.

This followed a trend throughout the year that saw the iGaming industry add 13.27% to its 2020 revenue. In 2020, the segment was worth DKK2.48 billion (US$368 million, but this grew to DKK2.88 billion (US$427.4 million) last year.

Overall, iGaming covered 45.29% of Denmark’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) last year; sports betting was second with 38.86%. Gaming machines added 12.31%, with land-based casino operations contributing 3.53%.

Gaming machines proved to be especially popular last year for the land-based segment. Overall, the vertical provided 73.24% of the revenue, even though it was only 1% better in the fourth quarter. These machines can be found at a variety of venues, but arcades, with 76.41%, were the go-to alternative. Restaurants controlled about 23.6% of the market.

Gaming machines were way out in front of other verticals in the fourth quarter. Roulette was popular, but only had 9.68% of the market. That was better than blackjack, with its 7.73%, and “other” verticals that had 4.85%.

Despite the strong results, gaming machines lost considerably last year. COVID-19 restrictions kept consumers away from gambling venues. This resulted in gaming machine earnings falling by 22.43% from the previous year. The final total was DKK765 million (US$1.13 million).

The land-based casino segment took a hit from COVID-19, as well. The full-year results saw a year-on-year drop of 6.79% to DKK220 million (US$$32.65 million). As Denmark relaxed its health restrictions, though, casino activity increased. The fourth quarter brought a 21.94% year-on-year increase to the casino segment with a total of DKK84 million (US$12.46 million).

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