Last week Norway’s gambling regulator Lotteritilsynet confirmed that as of January 1st 2020, key changes to the ban on payments made to unlicensed operators will come into effect.
Payment regulations on unlicensed operators in Norway first came into force back in 2010. However, to this day close to €600 million is estimated to leave the country annually in favour of operators that don’t hold a Norwegian license. Lotteritilsynet has estimated that around 250,000 Norwegians currently play with unlicensed operators.
Previously, certain betting operators were able to engage with the Norwegian betting market by masking the identity of financial transactions. The key difference that allows the current law to be more adequately enforced is now Norwegian banks have been empowered to block transactions based on company names and by targeting specific account numbers.
Additionally, Lotteritilsynet can order financial institutions and other payment providers to investigate all transactions made to unlicensed operators.
However a second hearing involving the European Betting and Gaming Association (EBGA) as well as Entercash, is yet to take place. This will decide whether the planned amendments are in fact in violation of laws pertaining to the European Economic Area (EEA).
Jacob Ljunggren, Product Director at Leadstar Media, who oversees several sites including Norwegian outlets Casinobonuser.nu and Betsjekk.com, gave his opinion on the recent climate surrounding regulatory action against unlicensed operators in Norway.
– It’s a clash between giants, as some of the big name operators such as Kindred Group, who are behind Unibet amongst other brands, claim that Lotteritilsynet don’t have the authority to block them from offering their services in the country. To my understanding a vital point here is the free trade between EU and EEA, meaning that off-shore companies offering their services in an EU country are also allowed to offer their services in other EU and EEA nations. Even though Norway isn’t a part of EU, they are a part of EEA and have to abide to international laws, according to the operators, says Ljunggren.
How can affiliates take action against these regulations?
– All we can do now is wait and see how this pans out. We will keep our visitors at both Casinobonuser.nu and Betsjekk.com updated on the legal situation in Norway and what it could mean for them. Hopefully we will get clear information of what applies as soon as possible.
Are you worried what this could possibly mean for your operation?
– Whether they can legally establish the new amendments or not remains to be seen. But our view is that a regulation of the market would be the best option for both Norwegian authorities as well as for the players themselves.