Is Bingo Denmark’s New Gambling Bad Boy?
May 15, 2020
Bingo may have just become the new bad boy of Denmark’s gambling scene.
The game, which is usually synonymous with old age and retirement homes, has made the Danish Gambling Authorities’ naughty list after the country experienced a recent surge in unlicensed bingo events.
Spillemyndigheden, Denmark’s official gambling regulator, issued a warning after noticing an uptick in the number of illegal bingo events being held via Facebook, as well as drive-in events, during the Coronavirus pandemic.
As is the case with many other European nations, Denmark forbids operators from hosting any gambling events without the proper gaming licence.
Morton Niels Jakobsen, Spillemyndigheden’s director, recently noted:
“We certainly understand that at this particular time, there is a great desire to unite people through enjoyable entertainment such as bingo games, which is a game that can easily be adapted to the current requirements to keep distance. However, when holding bingo games where a deposit is required in order to participate and you can win a prize, it is covered by the Act on Gambling’s licence requirements. In such cases, this means that it is illegal to offer online and drive-in bingo without a licence from Spillemyndigheden.”
Setting the wrong example?
Denmark is not the only country to notice the bingo community’s bad behaviour. The Netherlands is currently experiencing a similar trend regarding illegal bingo events.
Dutch gambling authority KSA recently issued warnings after expressing concerns that operators were hosting unlicensed bingo games to compensate for events that were cancelled due to COVID-19.
However, while Dutch regulators have indicated a willingness to be lenient, especially in the case of bingo events which are held to raise fund for good causes, Danish regulators seem to favour a more rigid approach. In addition to reminding operators of the rules, they have also recently taken to the courts to block illegal gambling sites.
In the past few months, no less than 16 illegal sites were blocked due to Spillemyndigheden’s requests.
Time to cut some slack
While there may be some understandable concerns regarding the increase in illegal bingo games, the reality is that many of these games may have simply been set up as a fun way to pass the hours, or even as a measure to generate some funds for a worthy cause.
Whatever the case, it seems a little overzealous to target bingo as a serious issue. Danish regulators may want to rethink their approach on this one.