Lotteritilsynet 2020 Ban Hammer Incoming
December 19, 2019
For the most part gambling at non-approved providers, both land-based and online, is illegal in Norway. Norwegian gambling fans are restricted to the regions two state-approved gambling providers Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto.
Norsk Tipping offers access to a selection of multi-million Kr lotteries, sports betting and even online casino games from providers such as Microgaming and NetEnt via their Kong Kasino section. All of which is also available for players to enjoy on the go via Norsk Tipping’s mobile app.
Norsk Rikstoto, on the other hand, focuses on horse racing bets with a portion of the profits generated going back into developing equestrian sports in Norway. According to their official website, last year saw more than NOK 500 million fed back into the industry from thanks to these profits.
Incoming Banking Ban Hammer
In order to protect their monopoly, 2010 saw the Norwegian Gambling Authority, Lotteritilsynet, put a bill into action that allowed them to block payments to illegal online casinos and sportsbooks.
However, there were loopholes in the system that allowed online casinos to continue to operate in the region by simply masking their transaction ids. Loopholes which are estimated to cost the Norwegian gambling sector in excess of €600 million annually as more than 250,000 residents flock to unlicensed gambling sites.
Earlier this month the Gambling Authority confirmed that as of January 1st, 2020 they will be empowered to authorise Norwegian banks to target the processing accounts of illegal gambling operations. In addition to checking for coded transactions, they will also be incorporating more granular search data including the suspicious bank account numbers and company names.
Lotteritilsynet At Odds With Free Trade Agreement
One of the major roadblocks that Lotteritilsynet may face in 2020 is push back from leading international operators on the issue of Norway’s gambling monopoly.
While Norway is not part of the European Union (EU) it is part of the European Economic Area (EEA). As part of the EEA Norway is one of three European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
This agreement requires that they open their markets to trade with legal EU and EEA registered businesses. By blocking licenced operators from these regions offering their services to Norwegian players they appear to be in contravention of the Free Trade Agreement.