Norway refuses liberalization and proceeds against online casinos!

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Lennart folder March 4, 2019

It is now a tiresome topic in USA, but the situation is currently not much different in other European countries. We are talking about the online gambling game and its legal position in relation to the respective national legislation. While the politicians are gradually open to liberalization of the gaming market in USA, a country from Scandinavia rigorously refuses to allow online gambling through private providers. Above all, Norway wants to secure its own gambling monopoly. Apparently not interested in the fact that the country disregarded the current EU law, since Norway as a non-EU member is not bound to supranational legislation.

The prospects for private gambling providers in Norway are currently not particularly attractive.

Gambling in Norway completely in state hands

It is and will probably be a central topic in many European countries for a long time: the liberalization of the gaming market. Digitization in particular gave the industry a thrust – and that the state gambling monopolies, which are so attractive to many countries. This is also evident again in a country that is actually known for its progress thinking: in Norway.

Because in the land of the mountains and lakes, moose and brown bears you can currently see a very lucrative source of income. It is hardly different to explain why Sweden’s neighboring country is currently doing everything possible to make it difficult to offer online gambling providers to offer their service in Norway.

Gambling was and is still completely legal there to this day, but this may only be done through the state providers. And there are currently exactly two of them in Norway: Norsk Tipping Sowie Norwegian Rikstoto. From casino games to sports betting, all games of chance are handled and organized through the two state organizations, which in turn Lottery – and Foundation, to be regulated.

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But there is an exception in Norway. The Poker cards that have been popular for several years have a particularly large number of followers in Norway. For this reason, a law was adopted in 2014 that legalized private poker tournaments if the proceeds are used for charitable purposes. In principle, private poker events in their own four walls are allowed if they are not professionally organized and advertised. This means, for example, that no more than ten people take part in a tournament and the missions per participant must not exceed 1,000 NOK.

Norway actively acts against private gambling providers – but without success

How serious Norway is to maintain your own gambling monopoly becomes clear, you look at the recent past. In recent years, the Norwegian gambling regulatory authority has made some efforts to make it online casinos and also the Norwegian citizens to take part in an illegal gambling-at least from the perspective of national legislation in Norway.

The Norwegian authority recently turned to the known Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which provides a large part of private gambling providers in Europe with a gambling license, which means that they usually have permission to offer their services in all EU countries. The example of USA shows that this is not always quite as easy. In Norway you don’t feel bound to this regulation anyway, since you are not part of the European Union.

This was also the reason why the authority was quite right in an official letter to the MGA to call for the gambling providers licensed by the Maltese authority, and to point out that online gambling via private providers against applicable Norwegian law violation. However, this has not been the only measure in recent years.

  • In 2013, the Norwegian gaming authority ed online casinos, which also offered its services in Norway, directly and asked in a publicly accessible letter to withdraw from the market-but without success.
  • Some time later, the respective gambling providers were ed again. This time the authority specified its concerns and called for more concrete actions from the online casino operators, including the geoblocking of the website for access from Norway, the refusal to accept Norwegian means of payment and not to offer the websites in Norwegian.
  • Since this measure was not successful either, Norway was forced to take other ways. A few years ago, Norwegian banks were asked to refuse payment processing that obviously had to do with illegal gambling in Norway. But there were also greater successes here.
  • Before the last of the Norwegian gaming authority, there was a further with some private casino operators such as the Cherry AB, die L& L Europe Players Ltd oder auch die Gaming Innovation Group. But in this case, too, the warnings went into nothing.

Norway powerless towards online gambling?

The previously unsuccessful attempts to prohibit online gambling through private providers shows the difficulty and perhaps impossibility of continuing to maintain national gambling monopolies and to stand in the way of the liberalization of the European gambling market. However, from the perspective of many people, the official reasons for this project are doubtful, which is why Norway also receives little support.

Officially, it is said that only state -regulated gambling can ensure sustainable player protection. It is also a fact that gambling in Norway guarantees the Treasury year after year – even though the state operator’s gambling offer is very limited in a European comparison.

In addition, it appears paradoxical in the eyes of many people that the state is rigorous against private casino providers, but in their own casinos, especially in the popular slot games, relies on the well-known international developers such as Netent, WMS or Playtech.

Especially with many Norwegians, in which gambling is often acted as an important cultural asset, the state’s keeping is rejected, especially since it looks very different in the neighboring country of Sweden. By 2018, Sweden also held the state gambling monopoly, but opened the market for private providers in 2019. In the long term, this development should not be long in coming under the current circumstances, but in Norway.