Feeds

Norway gov mulls blocking online gambling

Probably not political, though

The Norwegian government this week indicated it is considering blocking the ISP addresses of companies that offer gambling online.

This follows a survey, attributed to the Norsk Tipping state gambling monopoly, suggesting that tough measures to curb online gambling already taken by the Norwegian government had failed: far from reducing the incidence of online gambling, more Norwegians than ever - some four per cent of Norwegians of those over the age of 18 - were depositing money on foreign gambling sites.

Reports that a block is under consideration first surfaced in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, which suggested that Culture Minister Anniken Huitfeldt was actively considering ISP filtering to block foreign internet gambling operators.

Reaffirming that government opposition to unregulated online gambling remained as strong as ever, she is reported as saying: "We want to consider using filtering IP addresses against gambling companies that are undesirable in Norway.

"Such measures have been successfully used in Italy, Estonia and France, and the concept has found favour in Denmark."

According to government rhetoric, this move is needed to address rising domestic problems of gambling addiction and fraud. However, online gambling site GamingZion reckons there are still 253 Norwegian sites that offer gameplay in English or Norwegian and accept wagers in Norwegian Kronor or US Dollars.

It states that online gambling in Norway is legal, but the situation is "tricky", with Norsk Tipping, a state-run company that controls all lotteries and sports betting in Norway, the only internet site where Norwegian players can legally place bets at present.

This is because in December 2008, Norway brought in a law to block online gambling through foreign online casinos, and following the implementation of this law on 1 June 2010, banks and credit card companies in Norway were no longer allowed to transfer funds between Norwegian accounts and foreign internet gambling sites.

The law does not, however, prevent state-run companies such as Norske Tipping and Rikstoto from continuing to profit significantly from online gambling. Cynics therefore suspect that these moves have more to do with protecting domestic business and reducing the flow of cash overseas than protecting the Norwegian punter.

Clive Hawkswood of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) is reported last year as saying: "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."

Norway has previously been warned against taking the stance it has taken on gambling by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which Norway is a member, and following implementation of its financial clampdown last year, EFTA signalled its intention to challenge restrictions imposed in this area.

Norwegian moves have previously copycatted the US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which bans the facilitation of online gambling by payment companies, and has been echoed in recent weeks by debate around instigating similar measures in Finland. ®

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.