The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has joined forces with payments processor Entercash to launch legal action against Norway’s ministry of culture and its policy of blocking payments to unlicensed online gaming operators.
The case was brought last week and sees the EGBA challenge the Norwegian gambling payments ban under European Union law and the freedom of payment processors to do business across the European Economic Area (EEA).
“In today’s digital age it is virtually impossible to enforce national borders on the internet but that’s what the Norwegian authorities are trying to do by introducing payment blocking for online betting,” EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer stated.
“Rather than being a tool to benefit consumers, such restrictive measures are aimed at protecting the revenues of the state-owned monopoly by cutting off outside competition from reputable EU-licensed operators.
“This is not only in breach of the EU’s internal market principles but out of step with the reality of a consumer-driven betting market, where players will inevitably search around the internet for value and choice in the games they play.”
The EGBA argues that Norway should abandon its gambling monopoly and open the market up to private competition.
“Norway is one of only two EEA countries which do not have a licensing regime yet – but it is inevitable they will have to confront this decision sooner or later,” Haijer added.
“The introduction of a multi-licensing regime would be a win-win: it would encourage more effective channelling which would benefit player protection, more effective local control of gambling activity and increased tax revenue for the Norwegian state.”