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Denmark: Court Rules Against Poker Player

(Sept. 16, 2009) Denmark's Supreme Court ruled recently that a man who had won 194,000 kroner (about US$37,700) playing poker online had to surrender his winnings. The gambler was unemployed, and his winnings were his sole form of income. For that reason, the Court stated that he was in violation of Danish legislation banning earning a living through gambling. This was so even though the online game was hosted outside of Denmark, because the individual involved used a computer in the country to play the game. The prosecution in the case emphasized that the law does not ban online gambling, merely relying on the gambling as one's only means of support. Crown Prosecutor Svend Larson stated, “[w]e will decide on a case by case basis whether someone is playing professionally.” (Poker Player Loses It All After Day in Court, THE COPENHAGEN POST, Sept. 9, 2009, available at

In November 2008, the gambler had been fined 5,000 kroner by the Eastern High Court; the Supreme Court decision cancels that fine despite requiring the gambler to give up his winnings. This case is the second recent one in which the gambling restrictions were applied. An organizer of in-person poker tournaments was also convicted by the Eastern High Court; that sentence was overruled by the Supreme Court, but laws banning poker tournaments were upheld. In the organizer's case, online poker was not part of the decision. It is estimated that 50,000 Danish citizens participate in online poker games. (Id.)