You have to go back to as far as 1902 to realize that Norway has not always been in love with gamers. That year, the Norwegian Penal Code was brought into legislation sections 298 and 299 specifying that henceforth, you would need a special license to run a gaming operation. It remained this way for years until the internet popped up in 1995 and brought with it an opportunity for online gambling which many Norwegian players were happy to participate in.
But now the Government has installed a new chief at the helm of the all-powerful the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) as the country prepares for a fresh battle with banned online gambling sites. Bitcoin casino gambling sites online now face a real existential threat in Norway, including Norwegian fan favorite, Betcoin.ag Casino. The stakes are at their highest.
The new general director is the tough-talking Gunn Merete Paulset, a law graduate and a past 8-year veteran at NGA. To observers, this is the clearest sign as of yet that a serious showdown and possible shutdown looms in the Norwegian online gambling market. Paulset is tough and conservative, and will likely push for drawbacks.
Unified Government Fired Warnings Shots
In au nprecedented move, the state recently submitted its proposed regulations barring its institutions from processing any gambling related payments to the European Union Commission for approval, hoping to have the new rules in place by January 1, 2019.
This, not forgetting that already, Norwegians banks are prohibited from approving payments for/to any international gambling sites or their agents. Even more troubling is the fact that Norway has previously tried to ban unauthorized gambling players from promoting their products to the local punters.
Even more so, and worse, opposition politicians just last month approved some controls that will force the authorities to start blocking the DNS (domain naming services) of unauthorized gambling sites, an act heavily condemned by gambling operators. It seems like a coalition is building up to fight against online and bitcoin gambling.
To market watchers, this is yet another attempt to protect the turf of the government sponsored gambling monopolies, Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping – the only two companies permitted to run betting services in the Country.
Bitcoin Gambling Still Thriving
While the influx of new regulations continues unabated, online players relying on offshore sites and continue to enjoy their normal gaming experience. For example, in the case of Poker, one of the reasons why enthusiasts are flocking to the internet is that Norsk Tipping website doesn’t currently provide conventional live online poker rooms instead opting to have a few video poker games online.
However with the government push Norsk Tipping is in a very good spot, even recently adding two new directors, for strategic and innovation purposes, two signs of a future backed by the government.
The migration became more apparent from the moment the country’s Ministry of Culture recommended changes to the gambling laws a couple of years back.
This, despite commercial gambling like online poker, being in essence “banned”. Interestingly, the industry seems to have a way of surviving despite the onslaught. In April last year, the NGA blacklisted seven firms it accused of facilitating the payment of over $256m from online gambling.
Unbelievably, in December 2017, the NGA reported that some of these companies –Entercash and Trustly AB (Magyar s.r.o.)– had still managed to continue operating by changing their registration data.
Norwegians are Online Bitcoin Casino Veterans
Just like internet poker, Norwegians have been interested in online bitcoin casinos for many years. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the country’s tech-literacy levels and history with gambling.
The country even has its own Bitcoin exchange, Remitano, providing an on-ramp for punters seeking to convert their fiat to crypto so as to play on online-based Bitcoin platforms. Yes, online gambling attracts lots of hostility in many countries with negative legislation and Norway is not an exception.
But, luckily, as of now, the crypto market is largely running on existing laws and the country has already recognized Bitcoin as valuable. Just last January, Norway clarified that it treats cryptocurrencies as assets – subject to the capital gains taxation – and not real money meaning the state is already aware of Bitcoin based operations.
Also while the NGA has threatened to block all foreign ISPs, these actions are yet to be implemented meaning that foreign-owned online Bitcoin casinos are still widely available to Norwegians.
A recent drawback was an Olso court ruling where a leading Norwegian crypto investor had sued Nordea- the banking behemoth, for closing his accounts on crypto exchanges.
The court ruled that Bitcoin had an “elevated risk” and so the bank had been right in shutting down the account. It’s clear that such happenings can influence the perception on Online Bitcoin casinos.
The encouraging bit, however, is that there’s a growing number of Norwegian investors ready to gamble on Bitcoin casino. For instance, news broke through late last year of the Norwegian mogul funding a mega floating casino in Macau. Elsewhere, some of the leading Norweigan bitcoin casinos continue to defy all odds and are attracting more hungry players motivated by the raving reviews of Betchain for instance, from the older clientele.
What Now and For Tomorrow
Online Bitcoin gambling has been heralded as a milestone in the adoption of Bitcoins around the world.
While Norway restricts all online gambling operations to its state-controlled businesses, pundits are optimistic that online Bitcoin gambling will continue to claw its way into the heart of the land of the midnight sun. Because unlike in other countries, like Germany where state-sponsored gambling regulations are ignored at times, in Norway, the law of the land is respected.
The government has in the past briefly entertained suggestions about opening up the markets to international firms but the country seems a bit unsure of how to handle the phenomena leaving room for players to proceed and pick their favorite online Bitcoin gambling sites and continue playing without fear.
In most cases, these online casinos are very secure and are powered by very advanced online Bitcoin casino software in addition to providing 24/7 toll-free support for Norwegian gamers.
On the other hand, the regulator has continued the tough talk on all online gambling operations and it won’t come as a surprise if the NGA comes up with yet another set of legislation.
The appointment of the veteran Gunn Merete Paulset at the Norwegian Gaming Authority and the persistent review of gambling legislation portend renewed battles between the state and gaming enthusiasts in Norway.
But as the industry has proven time and again, it’s not about to give up on its potential. Evidence already shows that Norwegians have been flocking to the internet in droves as they seek to reap from their hobbies and investments. Perhaps, the only logical thing to do amidst the crossfire.