Norwegian Gambling Regulator Bans Transactions to 6 Malta-Based Operators



Staff member
May 3, 2008
After issuing warnings to six Malta-based online gambling operators four months ago and again this month, the Norwegian Gaming Authority has banned all transactions to these operators which have been illegally targeting Norwegian gamblers.

Considering the fact that these operators were still marketing their services in Norway despite the official warnings, the NGA reiterated the fact that this was illegal and took the necessary measures to restrict them from operating illegally in the country. A spokesperson for one of the six operators confirmed that it has received a letter of warning and that the letter did not include any penalties. Therefore, these operators will not be fined, at least from what we know so far, but transactions to their online websites will be impossible.

The Six Restricted Operators

Even though major European gambling operators joined to press the Norwegian government to reassess the monopolistic stance to gambling and its restrictive gambling policy last month, the Norwegian watchdog hasn’t changed its views nor rules. Therefore, the formation of the Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gambling by operators like Gaming Innovation Group, Cherry AB, Betsson and Kindred Group, was, at least so far, useless in their efforts to convince Norway to implement a more liberalized regime and allow them to apply for a license to operate in the Norwegian gambling market.

Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet or the Norwegian Gaming Authority as we know it, is definitely going after several respected online gambling operators, including Kindred Group, GIG and Bettson which are part of the Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gambling.

The NGA has blocked all transactions to Kindred Group, L&L Europe Players Ltd, Dino Gaming Ltd, Gaming Innovation Group, Co-Gaming Ltd., and Betsson Group, calling them ‘illegal firms’. Kindred and Dino Gaming were the ones who were warned this month while all the others had received their warnings four months ago.

The ban signifies that Norwegian banks cannot transfer money to any account that is held by these six operators. The Norwegian Gaming Authority states that these six operators were marketing their gambling services in Norway and were giving access to their online gambling services to Norwegian players without the state’s permission. It is no secret that only two local companies are authorized to provide any sort of gambling services in Norway: Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping. Therefore, all of these six companies have indeed been illegally offering their services to Norwegians.

But even so, Kindred has filed a suit against the Norwegian regulator not so long ago, claiming that the removal of Kindred's Apple App from the App Store was an unfair restriction of trade and regulatory overreach.

NGA’s Rules for Foreign Gaming Companies in Norway

After noticing that there were companies offering gambling services to Norwegian players, Norway has implemented the 2010 Payment Act with the aim to prevent online gambling at foreign gambling sites, by forbidding banks from allowing Norwegian citizens to use their credit cards for gambling at these sites.

Then in 2014, in a 4-page notice to foreign gaming companies, the NGA reminded and once again warned European operators to what was considered illegal in the country. The regulator emphasised the fact that Norway has a monopoly of games of change for which Norsk Tipping was the only legal provider. Then, NGA warned operators that offering online gambling services to Norwegian players is in violation of Norwegian law and it is illegal.

In addition, the NGA has explained in detail what was legal and allowed in the country and what was not, so the six earlier mentioned operators were fully aware of the breaches they were making.

Despite the warnings and notes on gambling in Norway, the Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gambling was formed, and as soon as the word spread, the NGA quickly acted.

The Norwegian Gaming Authority’s Deputy Director-General Henrik Nordal instantly dismissed their proposals for less restrictive gambling, saying they were a side-kick. The reality is, the Norwegian government has never shown any interest in changing their monopolistic stance when it comes to gambling. In fact, it has further strengthened its regulations after noticing that foreign online operators were targeting and exploiting Norwegian players without the state’s permission. The regulator has been prohibiting advertising, blocking players’ access to unauthorized domains and restricting transactions for quite some time.

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