Following delays in gambling legalization in the country, the Norwegian igaming industry is now under a crackdown by the national regulator. The Norwegian Gaming Authority has written to a number of igaming operators in the country who it believes are targeting Norwegian players. The list of domains includes names like Poker Stars, Betsson and Unibet. The regulator has warned the operators to respect the monopoly that state owned operator Norsk Tipping has on lotteries and game of chance, and steer clear of violating the country’s laws on gaming.
Norway strictly regulates the marketing of gambling products and services offered to the general public by independent operators. The letter that has been sent to the operators clearly raises the issue of marketing and a copy has also been sent to Norwegian celebrities and sporting personalities who have appeared in advertising campaigns for such sites.
The majority of the operators who received the Gaming Authority’s letter are run by Scandinavian companies such as Betsson, Mr. Green, and Unibet. Poker Stars is the only name on the list which is an international operator. Celebrities who were sent the warning letter include sports personalities such as former Liverpool footballer John Arne Riise. Riise was part of advertising promotions for the company Betsson and its online domains.
The regulator has clarified its stand on the issue by declaring that it is “not correct” for foreign gambling companies to publicly state that their methods of marketing and offering their games in Norway is legal. In fact, it is in violation of the country’s laws and a disrespect of the monopoly that the state-run Norsk Tipping should ideally enjoy in the market. The spokesperson for the Gaming Authority has also said that the main reason behind sending the letter out to defaulting operators and the people supporting them was to inform the foreign domains about the rules and regulations that apply in this case. The regulatory body also wishes to urge the foreign operators to get their business in accordance with Norwegian gambling laws.
Under the terms stated in Section 6 of the Lottery Act and Section 2 of the Gaming Act in Norway, offering gambling games without a proper permit is illegal. Also, marketing and mediation of the products is banned under sections of the same acts. The prohibition also includes payment processing for gambling games not covered under a permit.
The regulator says that its strict rules are needed to ensure proper organization for all gambling operators and to offset any negative social consequences of gambling. The controls also pave the way for gambling profits to be used in a productive manner for humanitarian activities. Though the Gaming Authority has not pursued illegal operators due to lack of funds, it does want the companies to ensure that their games are offered in accordance with the country’s laws.
The list of sites contacted by the Norwegian Gaming Authority:
List of celebrities contacted for gambling promotions:
|John Arne Riise||Betsson|
|Tone Damli Aaberge||Betsson|
|Sandra Lyng Haugen||Folkeautomaten|
Renee is an international analyst and journalist specializing in covering legal developments and legislative efforts in regulated online betting markets world wide.