Norway Turns Up The Heat On Online Gambling Transactions

Banks commence implementing new laws designed to disrupt illegal gambling financial transactions

Norway is following other national regulatory jurisdictions in clamping down on unlicensed operators, going after the money in its latest regulations, which banks began implementing last week.

The government is using banks to disrupt financial transactions between punters and operators, initially targeting selected payment processing and online gambling companies that do not have Norwegian licensing, according to the local publication KlasseKampen.

The publication reported that the campaign started with blocking orders to Norway’s banks from the Norwegian Lottery Authority, ordering blocks on seven bank accounts…five associated with payment processing entities and two owned by online gaming operators.

NLA director Linda Westbye, who signed the blocking orders, told Klassekampen that government is determined to “…stop these types of transactions and will send more orders as new brokerage companies emerge.

“It does not matter what these gaming companies are called or how many they are. Anyone who uses such payment services abroad violates Norwegian law.”

The payment processing companies named were Worldpay, Earthport, Trustly, Inpay and Entercash, whilst the two operator-associated accounts were Mangas Gaming and  Staycool OÜ. InfoPowa readers will no doubt recognise the former name as one associated in the past with online casino group Betclic Everest.

Estonia-based Staycool OÜ operates Scandinavian-facing sports betting brands Coolbet.com and Coolpickz.com.

Klassekampen concluded that two of the blocked payment processor accounts are associated with major online gambling groups Betsson and Unibet, and approached these companies for comment.

Whilst Unibet remained silent, Betsson questioned the validity of the NLA actions, pointing out that the company is licensed in the European Union and commenting that there are no plans to abandon Norwegian customers.

That suggests a legal clash at some point if Betsson argues that its EU licence entitles it to operate in Norway in terms of the treaty, which stipulates free movement of trade and services. That could have wider implications affecting France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, which all claim sovereignty over their own dedicated online gambling markets.