EGBA Opposes Norway’s Block of Gambling Payments
The European Gaming & Betting Association is opposing plans by Norway to restrict payment services to online gambling sites.
The government wants to protect state-owned gambling enterprise Norsk Tipping and specifically its charitable contributions by blocking other unsanctioned sites.
The trade association, however, says the country 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 of the association said in a press statement. “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 licensing 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,” he said. “That’s exactly what the overwhelming majority of European countries have been doing, and that’s exactly what we are urging Norway to do.”
Norway’s political parties have secured a co-mandate demanding that the country’s legislature impose strict directives limiting consumer access and engagement with unlicensed operators. Towards that end, the government confirmed the appointment of Gunn Merete Paulsen as Director General of national gambling regulator Lotteri- og Stiftelsestilsynet.