The European Gaming and Betting Association is confident of triumphing in its “main case,” after two of three claims brought by the group and Entercash in Norway failed.
Aligning with the payment service provider earlier in the year, the Oslo City Court has ruled on two claims brought forward over the Norwegian government’s policy of seeking to block igaming payments to offshore operators.
The Oslo court found that there was a sufficient legal basis in law for the Norwegian gaming authority to block online betting payments from citizens to Entercash.
However the court has not ruled on the main third claim, for which the EGBA and Entercash could still prevail, over whether the payment transaction ban is an illegal restriction on the EU freedom to provide services within the European Economic Area.
The case will be heard separately, expected in Autumn, when the court will rule on whether it finds payment blockings to be suitable, necessary, and consistent under the EU freedom to provide services.
Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA, stated: “We take note of the ruling by the Oslo City Court and await with confidence the outcome of our main claim that payment blockings infringe upon the EU freedom to provide services. EGBA will reflect on the judgement before considering whether to appeal.”
The group believes that the clampdown on transactions to offshore operators is part of a concerted effort to safeguard the monopoly of state-owned operator Norsk Tipping.
Haijer went on to reemphasise calls for the country to adopt a multi-licensing regime, as is the case in a large number of EEA countries: “Norway is one of only two European countries left which have a monopoly for online gambling.
“All other European countries have now introduced, or are in the process of introducing, a so-called multi-license regime which allows European companies who fulfil strict safety and quality criteria to obtain a license to provide online betting.
“These countries have found that a high level of online consumer protection is best achieved by providing consumer choice alongside high consumer protection standards.
“We believe payment blocking measures are being enforced by the Norwegian authorities to ensure the survival of the country’s gambling monopoly.
“A more fundamental rethink of Norway’s gambling regime is needed, and we continue to advocate for a highly-regulated and safe online betting regulation which follows the example of Sweden and other European countries.”