Norway Implements Ban On All Online Poker TransactionsJune 3, 2010 11:10 am
Despite previous warnings from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Norway has moved ahead and implemented its ban on financial transactions between online gambling sites and its residents.
Although not formally a part of the 27 member state European Union, Norway is part of the European Free Trade Association, which is comprised of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein.
When the Norwegian government first submitted its proposal to its parliament in 2008 to go ahead with the ban, EFTA responded by highlighting the fact that “such measures constitute an unjustified restriction of the freedoms of the internal market for gambling services.”
Not to be deterred, Norway has gone ahead with its plan all the same and has, since June 1st 2010, followed in the footsteps of the United States Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and prohibited online payment processors and credit card companies from allowing any online gaming transactions from taking place.
The Norwegian government insists such a move was necessary in order to address what is seen as the rising domestic problems of gambling addiction and fraud. However, state run companies Norske Tipping and Rikstoto are set to profit from the new law as they have been granted a virtual monopoly of the country’s gaming industry.
Commenting on the stated motivation of the Norwegian government in implementing the law, chief executive Clive Hawkswood of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) said:
“It is difficult to believe that the aim of the proposed measures is to protect consumers and restrict gambling given the Norwegian monopoly’s appetite for recruiting new players and the extent of its marketing campaigns. The Norwegian authorities appear to be more motivated by the need to protect revenues from gambling, but this is not a valid justification to restrict the internal market rules.”
The European Free Trade Association have now signalled their intention to challenge Norway’s new gambling laws.