Norwegian Gaming Authority Payment Blocking System Called into QuestionPublished January 23, 2018 by Ivan P
The EGBA believes the NGA has stepped outside the Norwegian law and violated privacy of Norwegian citizens, many of whom have no ties to online gambling at all.
The Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) has been called out by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), with the latter requesting an investigation to determine if NGA has committed what they describe as “serious breaches of the privacy” of Norwegians involved with online payments.
In Norway, there is a payment blocking scheme in place that’s been operational since 2010, with its primary goal being to stop payments to and from online gambling operators that provide their services in the country without proper local licenses.
NGA Stepping Out of Its Framework?
Although the scheme has been in place for eight years, this is the first time privacy concerns have been raised by the EGBA, with the organization requesting the Norwegian Data Protection Inspectorate to take a look into it and conduct any necessary investigations.
The request was triggered by the latest action of the NGA, which saw seven account numbers blocked from receiving transactions from Norwegian banks as the Authority identified them to be connected with online gambling. This came after the NGA has determined their current system wasn’t as effective as they’d like it to be.
However, according to the EGBA, the NGA stepped outside of its boundaries by doing this, as they had to access the information in the Foreign Exchange Register, which they are not allowed to do according to the Norwegian law. By doing what they did, they invaded privacy of numerous citizens, many of whom had nothing to do with online gambling transactions whatsoever.
Time to End the Monopoly?
When it comes to online gambling, the situation in Norway is such that only two state-operated companies are allowed to offer services in the country, namely Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping. There is no way for international operators to obtain Norwegian licenses as the country once again decided to keep monopoly in place back in 2016.
This new outcry by the EGBA could be the start of the change. According to the organization’s Secretary General Maarten Haijer, in this day and age, data protection is of the utmost importance. If online gambling companies are held to high standards with regards to safeguarding this information, public agencies such as the NGA must do the same.
He also emphasized that current Norwegian laws aren’t really fit for the current situation in the market and don’t actually address needs of the customers. Haijer believes the government should stop focusing on keeping the monopoly in place and work instead to create a competitive environment that will best serve Norwegian consumers.