Norwegian Gambling Authority steps up oversight of online casinos

Norwegian Gambling Authority steps up oversight of online casinos

By Charles Thuo - min read
  • Norway’s online casino market faces increased scrutiny
  • Lotteritilsynet oversees banks to enforce a ban on transactions with illegal online casinos in Norway.
  • EGBA urges Norway to adopt a licensing model for online gambling, citing the need for diversity and player safety.

In a bid to further regulate the online casino market including the rapidly growing crypto gambling and reduce illegal gambling, the Norwegian gambling authority, Lotteritilsynet, has intensified its efforts to enforce existing regulations. 

The authority is closely monitoring nine banks in Norway to ensure compliance. It has also banned banks from processing illegal gambling transactions.

Online casino payment restrictions

The ban on payments to and from illegal gambling operators is a crucial regulatory tool aimed at reducing illegal gambling in Norway. 

Recent population surveys suggest that this prohibition has made it increasingly challenging for the public to engage with foreign-based gambling operators, helping fuel a boom in crypto being used in the payments sphere. This measure aligns with Norway’s commitment to fostering responsible gambling practices and protecting its citizens from the adverse consequences of excessive gambling.

Bank surveillance

Under Section 5 of Norway’s gambling act, payment transactions with unlicensed gambling operators are prohibited. Lotteritilsynet has the authority to instruct banks to reject transactions to and from specific accounts and companies involved with unlicensed gambling operators. Reports have it that the regulator has identified nine banks for scrutiny.

While the identity of the nine banks under scrutiny remains undisclosed, the move is part of Lotteritilsynet’s ongoing efforts to enforce the ban and curb problem gambling in the country.

Lotteritilsynet has requested detailed information from the nine banks regarding the steps they have taken to prevent transactions to and from specific companies and account numbers associated with unlicensed gambling operators. Additionally, the authority has asked for insights into the banks’ internal compliance routines.

The banks have been provided with a three-week deadline to furnish Lotteritilsynet with the required documentation and information. The regulatory body expects the banks to demonstrate effective compliance with its directives.

EGBA urge Norway to shift to a licensing model

While Norway maintains strict control over its gambling industry, including a state monopoly on online gambling, calls for reform have emerged. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has urged Norway to shift from its current online gambling monopoly to a licensing model.

EGBA’s argument centres on the need to meet the growing demand for diverse online casino options within Norway. Currently, Norway’s online gambling market is limited, with Norsk Tipping covering sports wagering and online casino gaming, while Norsk Rikstoto focuses on horse racing. EGBA points out that neighbouring countries like Sweden and Finland have successfully transitioned to licensing models, providing players with more choices including crypto gambling, which offers anonymity among other benefits associated with the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies.

EGBA emphasizes that such a transition would not only cater to player preferences but also enhance player safety by implementing clear regulatory frameworks and rules for companies to follow. Moreover, it could lead to increased tax revenue for the government and better regulation of domestic operators.

As Lotteritilsynet intensifies its oversight of payment transactions related to online gambling, the ongoing dialogue surrounding the regulatory framework of Norway’s gambling industry remains at the forefront. Whether the nation will heed the call for change and transition to a licensing model, as suggested by EGBA, is a topic that continues to evolve in the dynamic landscape of online casinos in Norway.