Norway Introduces New Legislation to Thwart Offshore Gambling

Published January 3, 2020 by Mike P

Norway Introduces New Legislation to Thwart Offshore Gambling

Offshore gambling operators are not allowed to provide services to Norwegian residents. New legislation will now go further than ever before to halt the practice.

Norway’s national gambling regulator, Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet, has announced fresh measures to prevent financial transactions from being made by residents to online gambling operators that are unauthorised to function in any way within the country.

As of 1 January 2020, the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) shall impose protocols to ensure payments to offshore gambling operators cannot be processed by domestic financial institutions. This will come a decade after the 2010 introduction of the Norwegian Payment Act, which had little impact when introduced in an attempt to prosecute rogue operators.

A Long-running Battle

In 2018, Norway stepped up its efforts to thwart offshore gambling payments and did so by preventing domestic financial institutions from processing transactions being made to providers that acted as intermediaries with operators. Among the main examples cited were the digital payment providers Trustly and Entercash.

Entercash actually decided to challenge the NGA and ultimately lost a legal battle that concluded in August 2019. Finally, the Norwegian Ministry of Culture sided with the NGA by agreeing that payments to unlicensed gambling operators and through intermediaries should be blocked, and that providers such as Entercash should not be helping players to subvert legislation.

Norwegian State-owned Monopolies

The landscape of the Norwegian online gambling industry is one of state-owned monopolies: Norsk Rikstoto can facilitate wagers on horse racing, and Norsk Tipping provides more general gambling services. A recent deal between Norsk Tipping and Scientific Games will lead to players having access to new online casino content in the months ahead.

Despite facing no competition, the Norwegian monopoly operators are losing an estimated $600 billion from an approximate player base of 250,000. Norwegian financial institutions will now be expected to play a greater role in bringing those figures down. Their new responsibility will now force them to deny payments based on a list of unauthorised financial institutions.

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