Norwegian Regulator Tightens Supervision on Banks to Curb Illegal Gambling Transactions

OCR Editor. - October 1, 2023
Norway Court

In a fresh bid to curtail illegal gambling transactions, the Norwegian Lottery Authority (Lotteritilsynet) has announced its intent to monitor nine banks within Norway to ascertain their compliance with the prohibition on processing transactions linked to unlicensed gambling operators, in line with the Norway Gambling Act.

Strengthened Oversight:

The Norwegian Lottery Authority is taking definitive steps to enforce the ban on transactions with unlicensed gaming operators by placing nine banks under surveillance. The stipulations drive this initiative in Section 5 of the Norway Gambling Act, which mandates banks to refrain from facilitating deposits and withdrawals connected to unlicensed sites.

Although the regulator has not disclosed the names of the banks or confirmed if any of them have breached the ban, it has emphasized establishing a "supervision of compliance" framework for each financial institution.

Regulatory Powers:

With the authority to instruct banks to block transactions to and from specific accounts and companies, the Lottery Authority has dispatched briefings to the concerned banks. These briefings entail requests for information regarding the measures they have instituted to halt transactions with unlicensed operators, alongside an exposition of their internal processes to ensure compliance with the ban.

Rannveig Gram Skår, a lawyer at Lotteritilsynet, highlighted that while dialogues with Norwegian banks and financial institutions have been ongoing, this marks the first instance of a more in-depth inspection of compliance.

Aiming for Robust Compliance:

The banks have been given three weeks to respond to the regulator's initial queries. Gram Skår expressed anticipation for the banks to comply effectively with the regulator's directives, underlining the importance of the payment intermediary ban in preserving the Norwegian sole proprietorship model in the gambling sector, which aims to curb gambling-related issues and other adverse outcomes.

EGBA's Advocacy for Licensing Model:

In a related development, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) recently implored Norway to transition to a licensing model from its state gambling monopoly. This appeal suggests emulating the frameworks of neighboring nations like Sweden and Finland to broaden the online gambling spectrum and tackle the challenges tied to consumers patronizing unlicensed gambling sites. EGBA Secretary-General Maarten Haijer emphasized that adopting a licensing system would be a constructive approach to addressing the existing issues.

This heightened supervision by the Norwegian Lottery Authority signifies a concerted effort to fortify the legal framework and diminish the menace of illegal gambling transactions, thus fostering a safer gambling landscape in Norway.


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