Illegal Gambling Sites in Norway Are Under Fire
Some of Europe’s top gambling operators are in hot water with Norway’s Gaming Authority. Payments have now officially been blocked to illegal gambling sites in Norway. These Malta-based companies are alleged to have been marketing toward Norwegians without a license to do so.
This news comes just a few months after Norway sent warning letters to these companies to cease their operations in the country. It’s a big move for the Norwegian online gambling industry. Many people are now wondering if Norway will ever liberalize this popular market.
Online Gambling Laws Inside Norway
Norway has implemented some of the strictest laws in all of Europe when it comes to online gambling sites. Technically speaking, the market is open to foreign companies that have a license to operate. Unfortunately, only two companies have been granted a license.
The Norwegian government owns both of these companies. They earn money by taxing players’ winnings.
Back in 2010, Norway passed the Payment Act. This prevented Norwegian banks from allowing their customers to use credit and debit cards on gambling activities based outside the country. The rise of e-wallets has made this law somewhat ineffective.
Not a single foreign gambling company has actually received a license to operate here. Despite that, a number of major gaming companies have continued to accept Norwegian players. Now, Norway is cracking down on these activities.
Payments Withheld to Illegal Gambling Sites in Norway
The Norwegian government seems fed up with foreign gambling sites breaking their laws. Back in November, Norway sent warning letters to Betsson Group, Co-Gaming Ltd, L&L Europe Players Ltd, and Kindred Gaming Group, among others. This week, they took things a step further.
Reports now claim that the Gaming Authority here has ordered local banks to withhold any and all payments to the gambling companies marketing in Norway illegally. Some of the biggest gaming companies in the world are part of this new payment blockage.
A number of the gaming operators involved in this case recently formed a lobbying group aimed at liberalizing the Norwegian online gambling market. Their goal is to make it easier to obtain a license to legally operate here. As of February 18th, they haven’t made any significant progress.
Will Norway’s Online Gambling Market Ever Open up?
Norway hasn’t shown any intention of opening up its gaming market. For now, only two online gambling companies are legal inside the country.
Norway’s current gambling laws are in place to prevent people here from developing an addiction. These regulations simply don’t appear to be working. The majority of gamblers here still choose to play through other popular online gambling sites in Europe.
For now, Norway’s Gaming Authority is choosing to punish the websites attempting to operate in their country. As we’ve seen recently though, more countries in Europe are opting to liberalize their online gambling markets. Allowing foreign sites to legally operate would likely earn the government millions in revenue every year.
It’s not clear if the gambling sites accused of operating here will ever receive a license. Kindred Gaming Group has stated that the charges are unfair. It’s possible that an Oslo City Court will need to settle the dispute.
When will Norway choose to open up their gaming industry? Will these companies take their cases to court? Make sure to let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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