Problem gamblers set to cost taxpayer millions
The Danish state is set to use some of its resources to combat the growing problem of gambling addiction for the first time, according to a press release published yesterday by the Ministry of Tax.
Some MPs fear that using famous actors and sportspeople in advertising for gambling companies has made gambling more attractive to a younger audience.
Pilou Asbæk of ‘Borgen’ and ‘Game of Thrones’, as well as former footballer Brian Laudrup, have both appeared in Danish gambling adverts, and some are calling for a ban on these celebrity endorsements.
The Ministry of Tax underlined the dangers of gambling addiction – particularly for children and young people.
“The development we are seeing in the gaming area is very worrying,” said the tax minister, Jeppe Bruus. “Gambling addiction can have major and long-lasting consequences for those involved, and we have a special obligation to protect children and young people and other vulnerable groups.”
Bruus has also commented on the detrimental effects of gambling advertising, often involving famous people, which he says glamourises gambling without warning of its hazards.
“If you talk to the Center for Gambling, gambling addicts and relatives, they say that advertising contributes significantly to the development of an addiction,” Bruus observed. “This is the case whether it is children, young people or adults.”
“It also helps to normalise the games, so the Danes think of it as something harmless, because it is all over the place. And I can understand that. But gambling for money is not harmless.”
Dicing with death
There are now 500,000 ‘problem gamblers’ in Denmark, according to a report by Rambøll conducted last year for Denmark’s Gambling Authority (Spillemyndigheden).
This constitutes almost one Danish person in ten, and also stands to cost the Danish taxpayer 30 million kroner over the coming three years.
In other countries, such as the UK, gambling advertising has come under harsh criticism, with talk of banning online betting companies from advertising on professional footballers’ shirts.