Regulated Online Gambling Changes for NorwayPublished September 25, 2014 by Arthur M
The Norwegian Culture Minister is looking to open up the local market to online gambling, which is presently prohibited to open competition.
Norway currently has some of the tightest online gambling laws in Europe, with only two local state-owned operators allowed. The Culture Minister has expressed an interest in opening up the market to free and fair competition.
Anyone looking to gamble legally in Norway can only use two operators, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Riksoto. Both sites are extremely limited in there games, with Tipping offering lotteries, keno and sports bets to a restricted number of players, at certain times of day, and Riksoto only covering horseracing.
Thorhild Midvey, Norwegian Culture Minister, and the Culture Committee have instigated a report on the possible impact of an open gambling market. This has been an on-going process, with Widvey appearing keen to liberalise Norway's laws, with possible changes due to be passed by the government next year.
The assessment will look at how open markets like the UK, Denmark and Sweden have coped. The changes could effect not just the number of online gambling opportunities available to Norwegian citizens, but also how they fund their games, as locals cannot use Norwegian banking facilities to pay for gambling. This can lead to a situation where locals who travel abroad and stay in casino resorts may have trouble paying their hotel bills as there is gambling on the premises.
The precise details of the proposed changes are still unclear, but there has been a particular softening of the governments position on Poker, which is very popular in Norway, even though the Norwegian Poker Championships have to be held abroad each year. It has been estimated that $120 to $180 million in gross revenue comes from Norwegian citizens gambling abroad, which is money that would be taxed by Norway if people no longer had to travel to play.
Any changes to the laws would impact this situation, and Thorhild Midvey has said, ''I hope we can have a regulatory framework in place in time for a Norway Championship of Poker to be held in Norway in 2015.'' This suggests that the government has recognised the current situation isn't working, and that the changes will be implemented swiftly.