Norway: Amendments To Payments Ban To Come Into Effect From Jan 1, 2020

Norway: Amendments To Payments Ban To Come Into Effect From Jan 1, 2020

For long Norway has been battling illegal overseas websites operating in the country and exploiting the local customers. To tackle the issue of illegal gambling operators catering to Norwegian customers and to up its money-laundering efforts, the country’s gambling regulator had introduced a ban on payments of gambling operators.

Now, the county’s gambling regulator has announced that the amendments to the payments ban on overseas gambling operators will come into effect from Jan1, 2020.

The amendment to the payment ban regulation will ensure that foreign-based online gambling operators offering their products to Norwegian people do not get their payments facilitated by payment service providers (PSPs).

The payment ban has already been there since 2010. However, making a dent into the lenient provisions of the payments ban, unlicensed operators were easily managing to circumvent the regulations and cater to local customers.

According to a rough estimate by the country’s gambling regulator, Norwegian gamblers spend about NOK6bn ($659.9m) each year with unlicensed gambling operators.

What Will Change

With the amendments to the old payments ban on online gambling operators that have been confirmed to come into effect from Jan 1, 2020, it will be nearly impossible for overseas gambling operators to operate in Norway.

According to Norway’s gambling regulator, the amendment will allow it to request blocks for transactions based on company names and related to certain account numbers.

It will also provide the gambling regulator with the power to decide on which gambling operators to be booked as well as it could decide on payment intermediaries that gambling operators often take help of to get their payments processed.

Lotteritilsynet lawyer and advisor, Gram Skår, explained: “The foundation of the Norwegian gambling model is to help protect vulnerable groups from becoming gambling addicts. Good public control of gambling offsets both crime and gambling addiction. We see the effect of work we are doing today, but the purpose of the changes is to make the payment service ban more effective. This means we can, to a greater extent, prevent gaming companies from accepting deposits from Norwegian players.”

The gambling regulator had received a number of complaints against unlicensed overseas online gambling operators catering to Norwegian customers. The gambling watchdog has said that about 250,000 Norwegians have their accounts with these unlicensed operators.

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