EGBA deems Norwegian blackout as ‘unproductive & unnecessary’

Maarten Haijer

The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) has warned the Norwegian government not to proceed with its directive to block payment transactions on remote gambling services.

The industry trade association states that Norwegian authorities will simply implement difficult-to-enforce and counterproductive directives which will not protect its national consumers.

Maarten Haijer, EGBA Secretary General, has called for the Norwegian government to move forward and introduce a cohesive online gambling framework fit for modern consumer purposes.

“From a consumer perspective, there are only two licensed gambling providers in Norway – both state-owned – and this is just not sustainable in an age when consumers can easily search around the internet for their preferred choice of gaming product” – Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General, EGBA.

The EGBA states that its concerns should not be regarded as a criticism of the Norwegian government, which has the right to seek a ‘controlled environment for online gambling’ services.  

“A fundamental rethink and reworking of the Norwegian online gaming regime is, therefore, necessary to ensure that local and foreign operators can co-exist and have equal access to a well-regulated market which meets the realities of consumer demand for different gaming products.

“This can be easily achieved through a national licencing regime, such has been recently introduced in Sweden, which would enable the Norwegian gambling authority to bring the activity of foreign websites under its control, alongside existing state-owned operators. That’s exactly what the overwhelming majority of European countries have been doing, and that’s exactly what we are urging Norway to do.”

In 2018, Norwegian political parties have secured a co-mandate demanding that Storting (Norway’s legislative assembly) implement a number of stringent directives limiting consumer access and engagement with unlicensed operators.

Supporters of Norway’s blackout on online gambling state that unlicensed remote gambling operators have undermined the position of state-owned gambling enterprise Norsk Tipping’s charitable contributions.

Seeking to implement its structural changes, the Norwegian government confirmed the appointment of Gunn Merete Paulsen as Director General of national gambling regulator  Lotteri- og Stiftelsestilsynet. 

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