The European Gaming and Betting Association has reacted to action taken by the Norwegian Gaming Authority, which has banned payment transactions with six gambling companies.
Reported initially by the Times of Malta, the Lotteritilsynet has ordered banks to block payments to and from accounts identified as being used for processing gambling transactions.
Those affected are said to be Malta MGA licensed operators Betsson, Gaming Innovation Group, Kindred Group, L&L Entertainment, Dino Gaming and Co-Gaming.
Urging the Norwegian government to undertake a more fundamental rethink of how the country regulates online gambling, the EGBA states that the stance currently being employed is not sustainable, emphasising the latest example of attempting to “block off a Norwegian corner on the internet” as evidence.
Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA, explained: “Instead of using payment blocking to try to prevent its adult citizens from making informed and free choices, we urge the Norwegian authorities to develop an online gambling regulation which is fit for the realities of the borderless, digital age.
“There are currently only two gambling providers authorised in Norway, both state-owned, and this is not sustainable in an age when consumers expect variety, and can easily search around the internet to find this variety.
“With Norway’s restrictive rules, these players are currently playing with websites that are not regulated by Norway, which depletes Norwegian state tax revenues and jeopardises the task of keeping control of the market.
“EGBA supports a well-regulated and controlled environment for online gambling which keeps players safe, and the best way to do this is by developing a regulated market, based on multi-licensing, which applies a high level of consumer protection set by the Norwegian authorities.
“We have seen this happen recently in Sweden, where the country is now moving towards a licensing system for online gambling. It is what the overwhelming majority of European countries have been doing in the face of economic and social reality, and it is inevitable that Norway will have to confront the some choice.”