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Committee recommends expanded crackdown on illegal iGaming in Norway

9th December 2014 10:01 am GMT

The expert committee convened in July 2013 to investigate the Norwegian gambling market has submitted its report to the Ministry of Culture, proposing a number of measures to combat foreign gambling operators.

The report shows that more than 60 per cent of Norwegians are unaware that gambling with foreign online gaming sites is illegal, and attributes this to the fact that Norwegian television channels broadcast advertisements for sites that are not licensed in Norway.

It estimates that as much as 90 per cent of gambling advertising on Norwegian television is for foreign gaming companies, however, in terms of consumer spending, foreign sites account for just 9 per cent of the Norwegian gambling market.

In order to further protect the Norwegian gambling monopolies, the report recommends stricter prohibitions on gambling advertising and the processing of financial transactions.

The Norwegian government has already engaged with the authorities in the United Kingdom – the broadcast base of numerous Norwegian TV channels – in order to block the transmission of ads for unlicensed gaming sites. If this approach fails, the report recommends that the Norwegian Media Authority implement a bypass procedure and introduce a prohibition on the retransmission of unlawful marketing pursuant to Section 45 of the Norwegian Broadcasting Act.

The report is also critical of the payments ban that is designed to protect the local gambling market from overseas competition, but which has proved unsuccessful.

The committee says that this should be corrected through closer cooperation between the gambling authority and the banking industry, including a requirement that banks submit annual reports detailing transactions with gambling companies and payment processors. It also recommends that the gambling authority be given powers to order banks to reject transactions.

Casino-style social games are also an area of concern for the committee, which has recommended that the government launch a new study into whether these free-play games should be regulated.

The committee’s other recommendations address the market as a whole and call for further research into whether Norway’s Gaming Act, Lotteries Act and Totalisator Act should be merged into one complete act. At the same time, it recommends that Norwegian-licensed gambling operators be allowed to offer their existing games of chance online, including lotteries.

The committee also calls on the government to exercise more power in combating unlicensed gambling by exerting pressure on state-controlled media, and by ensuring that the government pension fund refrains from investing in companies that operate illegally in Norway.

The full report is available for download here. (NO)

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