Poker tournaments

About public tournaments

Poker is a game of cards that comes in many different variants. The most ordinary forms of poker games are e.g. Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud and Five-card draw. 

Poker tournaments can be held under the Act on Poker if:

  • the poker tournament is public,
  • the poker tournament takes place at a specified venue where the participants are physically present at the same time, and 
  • the participants in the tournament play in order to obtain economic gains.

Poker games played in a private setting and on the internet are not covered by the Act on Poker. It is furthermore not possible to obtain a licence on cash games or poker games where one does not play for economic gains. 

How do you get a licence
As a starting point it is not permitted to organise public poker games on money in the form of tournaments in Denmark, unless a licence has been issued. The Danish Gambling Authority issues licences to and supervises public poker tournaments. You can find a list of licence holders under Links. 

With a licence from the Danish Gambling Authority persons, companies or organisations can organise public poker games on money in the form of tournaments. In order to obtain a licence it is, among other things required, that the applicant is 18 years old and does not hold a liquor licence with regards to the venue where the gambling licence would also apply. 

You have to apply the Danish Gambling Authority for a licence. You must expect six to eight weeks for the application process. You must use application form No. 7-01 which you can find under Forms (only available in Danish). It costs DKK 1,000 in application fee, which must be paid at the same time of the filing of the application.

A licence to organise public poker tournaments on money in a tournament form can contain a licence to hold up to five tournaments a week on a specific venue. A licence is valid for a timeframe of two years as a maximum, but it is possible to apply for a new licence when this period has expired. 

There is a guide on poker tournaments (only available in Danish) under Downloads.

Changes or cancellation of a licence 
If there are changes to a valid licence, e.g. changes of the tournament venue or an added number of weekly tournaments, you must make this request to the Danish Gambling Authority. Changes must be approved by the Danish Gambling Authority before they can enter into force. Changes that entail the issuance of a new licence will cost a fee of DKK 1,000. 

If the licence holder is a company or an organisation, changes made within the executive board or board of directors must be reported to the Danish Gambling Authority within a month before the changes have entered into force. The Danish Gambling Authority will hereafter assess whether potential new members can be approved. 

If you as a licence holder do no longer wish to use your licence a written notification must be given to the Danish Gambling Authority. The Danish Gambling Authority will hereafter send a letter of termination that confirms the cancellation.

Before the public tournament is held 
You must notify the Danish Gambling Authority about the time of the planned tournament(s). This must be done 14 days before the start of the poker tournament at the latest. The notification can concern one or more poker tournaments at a time. If a tournament is cancelled, the Danish Gambling Authority must be notified at mail@spillemyndigheden.dk at the same time of the planned start of the tournament at the latest. 

Before you make it possible for anyone to sign up for the public tournament, you must have devised a set of playing rules and a form that shows the calculation of the sum of prizes. 

At the sign up you must register all the players’ names, addresses and dates of birth, and you must control the identity of the present players immediately before the start of the tournament. 

Certain rules apply to the participation and organization of public poker games on money in tournament form. E.g. you may not permit persons under the age of 18 to have access to participate in the tournament nor to the room in which the public tournament will take place. At the start of the tournament, there must at least be ten participants.

Stakes and prizes
The players pay a stake to be able to participate in a poker tournament before commencement of the tournament. You must as a licence holder be able to document that the payment has taken place in time. Under Links you will see which payments systems are approved.  Payments can also be made through a wire transfer. It is not permitted to pay the stake in cash. 

A participant’s stake may as a maximum make up DKK 300 pr. tournament and must be paid in one collected payment. It is not allowed to add more money to the tournament pool several times or throughout the game. 

The stakes of the participants make up the tournament pool and other funds may not be allowed into the pool. The tournament pool may not exceed DKK 15,000 and may as such only be used for prizes. The total prize for one player may as a maximum make up half of the tournament pool, but it is up to the licence holder to calculate and distribute the prizes. 

The down payment of prizes from the tournament pool can only happen through a transfer between accounts. It is therefore not permitted to pay out prizes in cash.

Accounting requirements
In connection to any completed poker tournament financial accounts must be devised 2 months after the tournament is completed at the latest. All payments to and from the tournament pool must be documented in the accounts, including a statement of the size of the amount and the date of payment. The accounts must furthermore include the names of the participants and their addresses and dates of birth, and the playing rules and the sum of prizes.