Norway to Target Online Gaming After Bingo Machines Ban

9th December 2009 11:00 am GMT

The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs is to ban all electronic bingo gaming machines from April 1st 2010 in accordance with the 2007 Supreme Court ruling granting Norsk Tipping a monopoly on gaming machines in the country.

Culture Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said Friday that the removal of bingo machines represented a significant step towards a more controlled gaming market, with the biggest challenge now facing the government being the issue of protecting its citizens from illegal gambling via the internet.

According to Huitfeldt, spending on bingo machines amounted to NOK 2 billion in 2008, three times more than was spent in 2006 and almost half of the total spent at the country's bingo halls. She added that so far in 2009, 18% of calls to problem gambling help lines related to the use of such bingo machines.

With their removal, the Ministry will now turn its attention towards the issue of illegal online gambling which the government intends to stamp out using various methods including payment processing bans. Huitfeldt said that in the first three quarters of 2009, 80% of callers to problem gambling helplines were seeking support for problems relating to online poker, betting and casino games, which are available through foreign online gaming sites.

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