Youngsters vulnerable as internet-based casino games soar in popularity

Centre for problem gamblers questions why there are so few regulations in Denmark following the 2012 liberalisation of its laws

Denmark has the third highest number of users of internet-based casino games in Europe per capita, according to a Jyllands-Posten analysis of data supplied by H2 Gambling Capital.

The numbers playing the games have soared by 106 percent over the last four years, according to the Spillemyndigheden gambling authority.

This year, the market is expected to yield net earnings (after all winnings are paid out) of 10 billion kroner – great news for the 40 companies that have acquired licences to operate in Denmark following the 2012 liberalisation of its gambling laws.

More youngsters susceptible
The development concerns the country’s Center for Ludomania – particularly as more young people are gambling online, either at home or in the increasing number of kiosks popping up.

According to the centre, around 125,000 Danes have a problem – normally defined as occasionally losing money you cannot afford to lose – of which an estimated 10,000 are addicts.

Additionally, according to a SFI survey, some 8 percent of the 12-17 age bracket exhibit behaviour that suggests they are susceptible to developing gambling problems.

Of the 700 people who seek help from the Center for Ludomania every year, half are under the age of 30.

Paradoxical behaviour
“It seems paradoxical that one of the world’s most prosperous and well-educated nations is also among those who dream the most about a sudden windfall,” the centre’s head Michael Bay Jørsel told Kristeligt Dagblad.

“We have a problem with our new gaming culture – namely the increased availability and the vigorous marketing of recent years. It’s clear that the more you are exposed to that dream, and the more accepted it is to go for it, the more you will get into trouble.”

Jørsel is among those who would like to see more regulation.

“You only have to look at the thousands of people whose lives are ruined by this,” he continued. “I really question why there isn’t more focus on regulating the entire gaming market.”