Norwegians have twice voted overwhelmingly to reject the offer to join the European Union. At a casual glance, this may not mean much. However, this is one of the biggest headaches for gaming operators in the Nordic country, especially bitcoin gambling advocates.
Unlike in Sweden where commercial gaming organizations have successfully contested the decision to ban gambling in the country, Norway has remain steadfast in its vehement opposition to betting, hurting many opportunities for bitcoin casinos.
Worse still, the state has lately been acting to further curtail the little freedom that online casinos may enjoy by outlawing the processing of Bitcoin-related payments by bankers. The regulator is Norway’s Gaming and Foundation Authority. It as an establishment does not play around with the law, going as far as declaring that commercials from foreign betting companies are even illegal per its regulations.
Sure, the laws do not prohibit Norwegians from wagering, but the Norweigen Government isn’t at all impressed especially when the players seek solace from private online casinos, too are all banned.
The Law Conspired to Make Betting a State Affair
The regulator gives two state operators Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping exclusive rights to provide online gambling in the country. This looks positive on the surface, giving an opportunity for gambling online. However, it is limiting, eliminating any possibility of an open market. Despite that a country like Malta is opening up space to more commercial players, this goes in the opposite direction. All of this is based on the belief that the Bitcoin isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, so there is a need to limit any gambling development, as well.
The main motivation behind leaving gaming at the hands of the state, and in particular, the hands of two commercial giants, is the need to protect national security and individual safety online. One major risk the government is concerned about is the addictive nature of gambling. Moreover, bitcoin gambling and other online cryptocurrencies open the door to a new type of player from around the world who may bring criminal potential and baggage to lead to societal disorders.
In addition, the Scandinavian country wants to ensure that all profits from gaming return to Norwegian sports and culture, a product of the government sector, instead of benefiting private shareholders. We should be clear. Gambling online is allowed, but through strict government intervention. There is no free range market to open a casino online.
Norway’s Laws Today
Norway has subsequently gone ahead to pass three laws: the Gaming Scheme Act, the Lottery Act, and the Totalisator Act. Each of these is governing all opportunity for gambling. Together these laws are setting the foundation for the attainment of the two models of play.
In the meantime, it’s the Ministry of Culture that has the overarching responsibility for all the lotteries by Norsk Tipping and any other game mooted by private organizations.
Online Casinos Red-Carded in Norway
Norwegian players are an interesting group. Since the Government won’t allow players to access their favorite games locally, they have turned to the internet in numbers. Many also need to mask their IP addresses using VPN so they are not to be tracked locally by the government.
And the broadband infrastructure is already well established. This fuels many to seek out online Bitcoin casinos including FortuneJack which specifically provide attractive odds, high-quality games, and a path of seamless transition between bank account and player.
Such is the passion that they seem to care little that internet-based casinos remain completely banned from Norway and that so far, there’s very little hope of change in the status quo. At least not according to the Governments’ body language. For example, the appointment of Gunn Merete Paulsen, a battle-hardened lawyer, as the head of the gaming body in June does little to inspire confidence. It only poses more threats to its eventual closure.
Also, the demands for stricter controls, including IP blocking by a grouping of opposition parties in the Storting Parliament are expected to severely restrict the space for foreign online betting companies.
Bitcoin Has Cause for Concern
We are convinced that in Norway, the war is being fought on all fronts. Not least because in the past months, the Central bank, Norges Bank, has announced that it is considering coming up with its own digital currency. This will be called the CBDC (Central Bank’s Digital Currency) to supplement Fiat exchanges and diminish cryptocurrencies influx.
The bank has explained the development as being prompted by the increased popularity of contemporary payment schemes such as cryptos and the decline of cash. They have also said that this will be in line with similar proposals by central banks elsewhere. But, of course, one cannot help but feel worried about what will happen to the Bitcoin in the long run and the destiny of the other cryptos like Etherium, Ripple and Zcash in the country.
Moreover, there is no thinking presently that even if CBDC were too successful, will it translate to its own online casino. To analysts, it’s clear that such a move will make an already bad situation worse and would make Norway one of the most hostile countries toward crypto with respect to its laws.
In Summary, the Future of Online Gambling in Norway
Without a doubt, the coming days don’t look promising and stakeholders have many reasons to tread with caution. The suggestions by parliament are especially risky. IP restriction and the invocation of heavier fines would harm both sides players, providers, and even the government tax opportunity.
Gunn Merete Paulsen, the new head of the gaming authority, is also making her presence felt with renewed crackdowns on online casinos. Not to forget that the Government looks ready to do all within its powers to sustain the monopoly of its twin operators, Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping.
The blockade imposed on financial institutions against processing crypto-payments doesn’t make things any better. For players, these measures are likely to lead them to look for ways to satiate their thirst such as the use of VPNs as its being done in other harsh regimes such as in parts of China. It’s however hoped that at some point, the authorities will realize that it’s almost impossible to control online betting and maybe review the legal framework.
Norway is not a winning playground for betters or betting companies. From the stern-looking gaming authority, the central bank, to the parliament, the bullets keep coming making it hard to operate. Online betting is illegal outside the scope of the two government-regulated companies. Despite this, perhaps one day the state will change, seeing that controlling online gaming is not such an easy task. As of currently, it’s very tight in Oslo.