Following the recent move by China to ban online poker, Norway is also another country that passed their own gambling restrictions. It is going to be implemented by May 7, 2018. Is this a good or a bad move?
Different parties including Centrist, Socialist Left, Labour, and Christian People’s Parties have announced that they are going to tighten up rules that essentially kill online poker. How so?
According to the new mandate, there will be strict IP blocking of foreign online gambling operators. In addition to this, Lotteri og Stiffelsestilsynet, which is Norway’s gambling regulator will monitor banking transactions of foreign operators.
There will also be advertising restrictions that target the digital inventory of media owners that promote unlicensed gambling sites.
Why were there regulatory changes?
The changes were made in order to protect Norwegian’s problem gamblers. However, is this really just the case? It seems that Norway’s government is planning to go for new methods that can curb competition of Norsk Tipping, which is a state-owned company that offers lottery, sports, and instant games.
Just last week, The Norwegian Gaming Authority (Lotteri og Stiffelsestilsynet) already began a consultation regarding its plan to restrict the movement of internationally licensed online gambling operators including those that are providing online poker.
The gaming authority’s proposal is already clear that the law requires both local and international financial institutions to restrict the transactions that involve unauthorized online gambling operators. In other words, the government plans to ban all of them except two which is Norsk Tipping and Norsk Ristoto.
The gaming authority claims that Norwegians collectively make 40,000 daily transactions with the international gambling websites. And for them, this is becoming alarming. This isn’t the first time that the Norwegian Gaming Authority tried to stop the online gambling websites. In fact, the banks were previously ordered to stop processing the online gambling payments that are using certain accounts. However, online gambling companies were able to adjust simply by changing the account numbers.
Today, the gaming authority is looking to pressure banks in order to stop them from dealing with these online gambling firms for good. They want the banks to stop dealing with companies based on the company’s name and not just the account number.
The gaming authority wants to compel the banks in order to provide transaction information about certain companies whenever the government wants to. The Norwegian Gaming Authority plans to have this power by January 1, 2019.
Coalition for Gambling Restriction
There was a report that a coalition was made supporting Norway’s call to strengthen its gambling rules. These were opposition parties. And for this reason, the new measure is expected to be formally adopted by the parliament by May 7.
This is a business move. Though people could have a more difficult time playing online poker, Norsk Tipping was able to record an increase in profit recently. Its active customer base jumped from just 80,000 to 1.96 million. Could this mean that there will be no market for foreign and local companies? It seems that odds are against online gambling companies in Norway.