Norway amends gambling act to DNS block illegal websites

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Norway’s government has amended its gambling act to allow the country’s regulator to block illegal websites starting next year.

Recommended by the Ministry of Culture and Equality on October 20 and approved by the Council of State on the same day, the Gambling Act amendments will allow Lotteritilsynet to force internet service providers to domain name system block any gambling website that is not permitted in the country from January 1, 2024.

“We do this primarily to prevent and limit gambling problems, and to look after vulnerable players and their relatives,” commented Lubna Jaffery, Minister of Culture and Equality.

From the beginning of next year, only Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto – the two operators allowed to offer gambling services under Norway’s monopoly system – will be allowed to have an online presence in the country.

If players try to access an illegal website, they will instead be sent to a landing page of their internet service provider where they will be notified that the website they are trying to access has been DNS blocked.

Lotteritilsynet also has a similar ban in place with payment providers to stop transactions with gambling operators that do not hold a licence in Norway.

Jaffery added: “If the foreign gambling companies had followed Norwegian law, this would not have been imposed on the internet providers. Therefore, we have to regulate this by targeting actors over whom we have jurisdiction.”

Norway’s gambling operates under a monopoly system where only Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto are allowed to operate in the country.

However, the monopoly system has its critics, as Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association, has recently encouraged the Nordic country to switch to a licensing model to meet the “clear demand for alternatives” by players.