BUSINESS

Danske Spil ordered to stop implying that online betting profits go to charity

TAGs: danske spil, Denmark

danske-spil-slogan-clippedDenmark’s state-owned online gambling operator has been forced to retire a popular marketing slogan after a consumer group found it misleading.

Denmark’s consumer ombudsman Forbrugerombudsmanden recently wrapped up its investigation of whether Danske Spil’s marketing tagline “Til glæde og til gavn” – which roughly equates to “for the joy and benefit” – left Danish punters with the impression that the company’s profits went toward charitable causes, including local athletics programs.

Danske Spil had a stranglehold on the country’s gaming operations since the late 1940’s and the profits raised by its lottery products were funnelled to charitable causes, hence the slogan, which made its first appearance 10 years ago.

However, the country liberalized its online gambling market in 2012, allowing international operators to apply for licenses. Now only Danske Spil’s lottery profits go toward charitable causes, while its other revenue is folded into the state’s general revenue stream.

This disconnect apparently sparked the interest of some Forbrugerombudsmanden bigwigs, who decided to study the matter. Last week, the consumer group concluded that Danish punters were indeed under the impression that all of Danske Spil’s profits were going to charitable endeavors, and thus changes were needed.

Danske Spil was told to stop using the slogan in connection with its sports betting and online casino operations, unless it also included language clarifying that the profits were going into the government’s general fund.

Danske Spil CEO Hans Christian Madsen claimed to have been “very surprised” by the ruling, based on his belief that consumers were already aware of the difference between its lottery and online gaming operations. Regardless, Madsen insisted that the company would abide by the consumer group’s orders.

Madsen, who has been with Danske Spil since 2005, announced last week that he would step down as CEO effective April 1, 2017, although he may stay on as a board member. The government is presently mulling a sale of Danske Spil’s online operations, which could fetch a price between DKK 3b-4b (US $460m-$613m).

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