Norwegian Online Gambling Threatened

Published Tuesday, July 07, 2009 -

The European Union has yet another country trying to protect it's gambling monopolies within their borders. Norway is expected to apply new laws in August of 2009 that will restrict and prohibit financial transactions to online gambling operators.

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has decided to file a reminder to the Norwegian government that such actions constitute a violation of the free access to the internal market for gambling services. A prohibition will be implemented on the processing of payments related to gambling via debit and credit cards, bank transfers and e-money. Only the state-owned monopolies Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto are exempt from the new legislation. The proposed laws also prevent holders of Norwegian credit or debit cards from using these payment methods for gambling while travelling or residing abroad where such gambling activity may be legal.

The Remote Gambling Association's, Chief Executive Officer, Clive Hawkswood, said, "It is difficult to believe that the aim of the proposed measures is to protect consumers and restrict gambling given the Norwegian monopoly's appetite for recruiting new players and the extent of its marketing campaigns," He added,"The Norwegian authorities appear to be more motivated by the need to protect revenues from gambling, but this is not a valid justification to restrict the internal market rules. Norwegian consumers should have a right to chose from responsible gambling operators licensed in the EEA States, which are at present subject to discriminatory measures. "We hope that the implementation of the regulations is delayed and that the new Norwegian government in September (after the September 15th national elections) are prudent enough to revisit this issue as so many other European States have in creating access to markets,"

The main goal of the EFTA Surveillance Authority is to ensure that European Economic Area rules are properly enacted and applied by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

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