Provision of betting in premises with an alcohol licence
The purpose of this newsletter is to meet the increased number of questions the Danish Gambling Authority receive about provision of betting in premises with an alcohol licence.
As a rule, it is not allowed to provide betting in premises with an alcohol licence. Thus, it appears from the terms of betting licences that:
“Betting cannot be offered in premises with an alcohol licence unless it is a betting shop or a land-based casino.”
This means, among other things, that betting is not to be offered in restaurants (e.g. pubs and sports bars) with an alcohol licence.
A land-based casino requires a licence under the Danish Gambling Act, and the definition of a land-based casino is thus definite.
However, the definition is less definite as far as betting shops are concerned. The Danish Gambling Authority receive an increased number of inquiries regarding assessments as to when premises with an alcohol licence can be considered a betting shop.
It follows from the terms of betting licences that betting can only be offered in shops, betting shops and land-based casinos. By betting shop is meant shops which mainly sells gambling products, and which are arranged as special betting shops cf. section 40 of the Danish Gambling Act. The Danish Gambling Authority assess that betting can only be offered in shops and that “shops” must be understood as the premises from where betting has traditionally been offered i.e. kiosks and grocery stores. The Danish Gambling Authority assess that places such as eateries, bowling alleys and sports facilities fall outside the “shop” category.
The Danish Gambling Authority assess that it is crucial for something to be considered a shop, including a betting shop, that it is an independent shop and this requires, among other things, that the betting shop has an independent entrance from public space and that the betting shop has an independent check-out just as it is required that the shop must be staffed throughout the shop’s opening hours.
Betting shops with an alcohol licence
When the Danish Gambling Authority assess whether premises with an alcohol licence can be considered a betting shop, an overall assessment of the premises is made based on the above terms which specify that betting cannot be offered at premises with an alcohol licence that are not a betting shop nor a land-based casino.
The Danish Gambling Authority are of the opinion that a betting shop is basically a place with relatively high turnover from gambling, where customers usually come to gamble and where the arrangement of the shop creates an environment focused on gambling.
It is an indication that a place can be considered a betting shop when the shop has a turnover from gambling products that makes up more than half of the shop’s total revenue. However, the turnover is not a determiner alone, and it is also crucial whether the shop is arranged as a betting shop that focuses on gambling and where customers come to gamble.
It is the opinion of the Danish Gambling Authority that it is crucial that the shop’s interior creates an environment focused on gambling, as opposed to, for example focus on alcohol consumption. This must be seen in the context of the purpose of the ban on offering betting in premises with an alcohol licence, which is that a person’s judgement is affected negatively as alcohol is consumed, which is not compatible with the overall purpose of the Danish Gambling Act.
Premises that are arranged to create an environment focused on alcohol consumption rather than an environment focused on gambling, cannot be considered a betting shop. This can be the case if the premises are arranged with a large bar with a wide selection of beer, spirits and other traditional products found in a pub. Such an arrangement or design will, in principle, create an environment with more focus on sale of alcohol than provision of gambling products. The Danish Gambling Authority assess that the alcohol that may be offered in a betting shop can necessarily be of secondary proportion, as this is crucial for whether the premises create an environment focused on gambling or alcohol consumption. This must also be seen in the context of the rule that betting must not be offered in premises that cannot be regarded as “shops” within the meaning of the Danish Gambling Act.
The Danish Gambling Authority assess that an environment focused on gambling is not only created through the physical placement of furniture, the cash register system etc. in the shop, but also created with the decoration, including marketing that is done in and outside the shop.
The shop’s marketing gives an impression of the environment that is wanted to be created at the premises. The place may have happy hour on alcohol or in other ways advertise alcohol which is not related to gambling. The Danish Gambling Authority assess that such marketing aims to attract customers to the place for purposes of buying and consuming alcohol.
When assessing the premises’ marketing, the Danish Gambling Authority consider both the physical marketing on site and any virtual marketing for example on a website or social media. In this connection, it is necessary to bear in mind that the Danish Gambling Authority find that it is not in accordance with section 29 of the Danish Gambling Act on professional fairness to direct gambling against people who are affected by alcohol, including having marketing measures in place to influence the customers to consume alcohol while gambling.
In a betting shop, gambling must necessarily be the focus and be the motivation for customers to come to the place. The Danish Gambling Authority have seen several examples in which premises have been furnished screens showing sports events, billiard tables, darts games and similar games in the belief that this helps create an environment focused on gambling that allows the premises to be characterised as a betting shop. The Danish Gambling Authority are of the opinion that these interior elements are more likely to create an environment that might be found in a pub or sports bar, where gambling is not the primary focus of the place. However, betting shops can easily, and will in most cases, be equipped with screens showing sports events. It is necessary that the environment created on the premises focuses on gambling and not alcohol consumption, and where customers primarily come to gamble rather than consume alcohol or play darts or watch a football match.
The Danish Gambling Authority assess that, in principle, an environment focused on gambling is not created solely by the installment of self-service betting terminals on site. There needs to be more elements for the site to be considered a betting shop. It may for example be the arrangement or design of the shop, the amount of gambling products or marketing focused on gambling.
The Danish Gambling Authority always makes an overall assessment, which is why none of the above elements can characterise a play alone.