The Norwegian Gaming Authority Lotteritilsynet has confirmed that as of January 1, 2020, payments to and from hundreds of gambling sites will be banned. The measure is taken with the aim of protecting the interests of the gambling operators that are legally allowed to serve Norwegian players.
In a letter sent out on December 10, 2019, Lotteritilsynet, warns Norwegian banks to cease processing transactions to and from casinos, included in the list of rogue sites. Financial institutions must investigate transactions to and from illegal casinos and report them to the Regulator. Then, the Regulator must decide on the amount of the fine that would be imposed. What’s more, some banks will have to provide detailed information about their role of a mediator between players and unlicensed casino sites.
A survey is to be carried out later in 2020 to determine how well Norwegian banks handle their new responsibilities.
Norwegian authorities have been looking for an effective solution against unlicensed operators since 2010. The idea of a total ban of payments was put forward in May, 2019, and approved by the Oslo District Court in August. Back then, the Court supported the proposed amendments and stated that the Government has the power to take actions against all operators that are non-compliant with the Norwegian legislative framework.
According to Norwegian gambling authorities, all these actions are aimed at protecting the vulnerable part of the population and combating gambling-related crimes and addiction.
The ban on payments comes after repeated complaints from players who fell victim to unfair practices while playing at unlicensed casinos. Various reports show that as many as 250,000 Norwegians play or have played at unlicensed casinos. They place bets amounting to NOK6b on an annual basis.
Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet reported a decline in the money spent on unregulated gambling activities, which means that local authorities are winning the battle against the unlicensed operators. It remains to be seen whether they would win the war.
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