Norwegian government moves forward with overseas gambling block

The Norwegian Government has progressed with its plans to block overseas betting and gaming operators, according to local outlet Norway Today.

Norway’s Minister of Culture and Equality, Abid Raja, is reportedly targeting a number of overseas  firms, including Betsson and Unibet, arguing that the online activities of these companies should be prohibited. 

“These companies do what they can to circumvent Norwegian law. With blocking, we will be able to stop them,” the Minister stated. “We will go as far as possible to get rid of these companies.”

A potential ban on overseas companies has been in the political pipeline in Norway for some time, having gained the support of the country’s parliament – the Storting – in 2018, with parties forming a coalition to overhaul the Lottstift regulator and enhance its powers to combat unlicensed gambling activities.

On 18 June this year, Raja introduced a new Bill to the Storting with the aim of merging the nation’s gambling networks, one year after initially proposing the changes to the parliament.

Described as a ‘milestone’ by Raga, the legislation aims to ‘regulate everything that is offered by gambling in Norway’, replace the current three laws that are in place – the 1995 Lottery Act, 1992 Gambling Act and 1927 Totalisator Act – and restrict the activities of foreign betting firms.

“Things are happening in the gambling field in Norway,” Raja commented at the time. “The government has worked consciously for many years with gambling policy and this is yielding results. 

“Foreign gambling companies and their payment intermediaries are withdrawing from the Norwegian market, their turnover is declining and advertising is no longer as easy to reach. This is a direct result of a targeted and successful policy in the area.”

The rationale behind the move is that by blocking overseas operators, customers will be diverted to the state-run monopoly Norsk Tipping and offer greater protection to those at risk of gambling related harm or addiction.

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