Norway Orders Betsson To Withdraw Online Poker Offering Immediately
Online poker site Betsson has been ordered to terminate its online poker and gaming operations in Norway.
Its parent company, the BLM Group Ltd received a letter from the country’s gaming regulator Lottstift earlier this week, ordering the company to stop offering online gaming services to Norwegians as it violates the country’s gambling laws.
Offshore gaming sites are generally prohibited in Norway, with only the state-owned casino Norsk Tipping, located in Hamar, authorized to offer online gaming.
The operations of such gambling monopolies are allegedly in breach of EU free-trade laws, and this claim allowed many online operators to continue offering services to local players.
But the country has intensified its campaign against illegal sites, with Betsson and its subsidiaries becoming the latest casualties of the crackdown.
The letter from Lottstift states that while BLM Group is duly licensed by the Maltese authorities, it is not allowed to offer its online gaming services in Norway in line with the country’s own laws regarding offshore sites.
Betsson and other associated sites including Betsafe, CasinoEuro, Norgesautomaten and Nordicbet have three weeks to pull out of the country, otherwise they will face “coercive fines“. Such fines will not be imposed as a punishment; rather, its purpose is to enforce compliance, Lottstift said.
Betsson’s Still Offering Online Poker
BLM Group and its affected subsidiaries have yet to release an official statement on the matter. As of July 7, both Betsson and Betsafe could still be accessed using a Norwegian IP address. It’s difficult to assume that BLM Group is being uncooperative with Norwegian authorities. The company might actually be preparing to leave the country, but might still be trying to sort things out for its Norwegian player base.
The shutdown order arises from alleged marketing campaigns carried out by the BLM Group online and on television which the gaming regulator said were specifically aimed at Norwegian customers. Lottstift accused the company of utilizing Norwegian symbols and adopting clever tricks to process payments in the country.
There have been proposals for a unified gambling law in Norway, combining the mandates of the 1927 Totalisator Act, the 1992 Gambling Act, and the 1995 Lottery Act. But the proposals, put forward by Minister of Culture Abid Raja, do not include a change to Norway’s gambling monopoly regime. The measures instead seek to strengthen Lottstift’s authority to prosecute illegal operators.
The proposals are currently under review by Norway’s legislative assembly.