Denmark’s Danske Spil Splash The Cash On Swush

Posted: July 8, 2015

Updated: October 6, 2017

Danske Spil retains a position of semi-monopoly within the Danish gambling industry but does it’s purchase of a sizable chunk of demonstrate such monopolies are no longer to be feared?

The fixation on the fiscal crisis between Greece and the Eurozone has now developed to the point where no other news seems to exist within the EU. The problems of immigration that were wall-to-wall headlines even but recently now fade away to be replaced with the speculative ravings of reporters who have no greater understanding of inter-nation fiscal arrangements that you or I. The macro-economic mess Greece faces now apparently ever closer to causing doom across the entire continent.

Danske Spil Grab Swush

• Danish monopoly buys 60% of Swush
• Fantasy sports games provider
• Extremely popular in the region

This interdependence is, perhaps amusingly at this point, by design. The EU was developed out of the common market in order to bring together Euro nations in a economic pact that would be able to compete with the large markets of China and the US, with the added benefit that it might just stop us all going to Belgium, digging long holes and trying to slaughter eachother’s children again as we had twice in the last century. Laudable to say the least, but the practicality has been questionable.

One of the big parts of being in the EU is the harmonization of laws and regulation pertaining to the provision of services across the borders of individual nations, and that process has been fraught almost from the off as old economic regimes of protected industries found themselves suddenly at the mercy of fair competition from numerous sources beyond their borders. Thus it is several industries have found themselves gambling news from Greece will keep their own issues with the EU on the back burner for now.

A Monopoly On Compromise

Podium finalists

This guy just won 100,000 kroner for his pigeon winning a race. No wonder fantasy sports seem like an exciting alternative!

Surprisingly the gambling industry has been in the forefront of his harmonization problem as many nations across the EU have a state-controlled entity running the limited forms of gambling allowed in their nations, and opening up that closed shop to outside competition has been deemed to be less than desirable. Some nations have resisted entirely, others have swayed and compromised, but in each case full liberalization of markets is something still resisted by several European “partners”.

Denmark is an example of the compromise approach, where the aging Danske Spil lottery company still holds sway over vast swathes of the market, whilst other sectors of it have been opened up to the international competition of Bet365 and its ilk. Set up in 1948 Danske Spil is officially awarded a yearly license each 12 months, but since that is never withheld, and others were, until recently, refused permission to apply, its monopoly position was entirely secure.

The argument for its continued presence in the market was one of a fiscal nature more than any other, with the profits and dividends mostly going to the the Danish state and Danish sporting or Olympic endeavors allowing those that like to bet on sports in Denmark to be actively supporting sport too. However in 2012 the compromise arrived that retained the Danske Spil monopoly over the lottery, as well as horse, dog and pigeon racing (oh yes, Danes really DO bet on pigeons) whilst opening up betting of every other variety to competition from both inside and outside Denmark.

Danske Spil Offers Fantasy Sports With Swush screenshot

Swush (now through Danske Spil) offers a selection of sports and leagues to be virtually managed

This mix-&-match approach has been successful but still not entirely in line with EU regulations and were it not for the fiscal crisis in Greece and the continued problems with migration keeping attention in the south of the union the chances are there would be quite the fuss about this semi-protectionist set up that doesn’t completely fall in line. Of course the charitable nature of Danske Spil keeps it popular within Denmark, and the company, despite being a state run dinosaur has managed to keep pace with developments within the market.

It is often argued that state run monopolies of any sort breed lethargy in development and progress, that they will rest on their laurels and provide a sub-standard service to a marketplace favorably skewed in their direction, but in Denmark that simply hasn’t been the case. Danske Spil is constantly upgrading both itself and the services it provides, mirroring the developments the competition has brought to the online facet of the industry over the last three years, and indeed expanding its range of opportunities.

Just this week Danske Spil made an acquisition that amounted to 60% of the fantasy sport games company (owned by Jesper Carstensen & Ole Christensen) at a price they’ve not deemed fit to release. The Swush range of games is already very popular in the region and the Dansk Spil partnership will help consolidate that position, and keep the Danish monopoly providing a quality of service that sees changes to Danish gambling laws beyond those already made as unlikely as a Japanese actress being asked to play James Bond in the next version of Dr. No whatever the EU wants.

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