Norway: bubble about to burst for unregulated operators

Norway will introduce amendments to its current payment ban, coming into effect from January 2020. It’s expected that the changes will make it more difficult for unlicensed gambling operators to offer their services here.

Addressing the black market

The existing ban has been in effect since 2010. However, the Norwegian gambling regulator Lotteritilsynet revealed that around 6 billion Norwegian Kroner (£501.5 million) is still being spent with unregulated brands.

As things stand, banks in the Scandinavian country have transaction-blocking systems in place. But the black market is able to evade these restrictions by masking the identity of payments and transferring via other means.

With the incoming amendments, transactions can be blocked based on various measures. These include company names and certain account numbers. Lotterytilsynet will also be able to make decisions regarding an operator or others involved in the payments process.

Gram Skår, Lotterytilsynet Lawyer and Advisor, said: “The foundation of the Norwegian gambling model is to help protect vulnerable groups from becoming gambling addicts.

“We see the effect of work we are doing today, but the purpose of the changes is to make the payment service ban more effective. This means that we can, to a greater extent, prevent gaming companies from accepting deposits from Norwegian players.”

Change has been coming for a while 

These changes were first revealed back in May. In August, a court ruling in Oslo seemed to support the introduction of these amendments. It mentioned that the government is able to block payments being made to offshore iGaming operators. The jury also deemed these powers to not be against EU laws.

A second hearing is due to take place. It will involve both Entercash and the European Betting and Gaming Association (EBGA). During this, it will be determined whether the planned payment blocks are a violation of certain provisions within the European Economic Area (EEA).