Norway passes online poker, gambling ban

Dec 13, 2008 10:00 PM
by GT Staff |

On Friday, the Norwegian government passed a proposal to try and ban online poker and gambling to/from residents of the Scandinavian nation. Enforcement of the new legislation is not expected until mid-2009 at the earliest as the government still needs to craft the regulations for the new anti-online gambling law.

Norway’s Financial Services Association, as well as many other prominent financial institutions in the country, were opposed to passage of the bill, which is very similar to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act  (UIEGA) passed by the U.S. government back in 2006.

The proposed ban, which would also include transactions – just like the UIEGA, was justified by the Norwegian government which claimed the law would help protect problem gamblers. The European Commission is reportedly against the new law.

One of Norway ’s senior legal advisors is already forecasting that the bill will end up in the European Court of Justice. Some opponents of the new legislation are claiming that the country is simply trying to get the ban passed to ensure the safety of the state-run Norsk Tipping lottery which has a monopoly in Norway .

Norsk Tipping offers a wide variety of lottery, sports and instant games in the Norwegian market and is owned by the Norwegian government (Stortinget) and administered by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs. Since opening up for business in 1948, Norsk Tipping have returned over NOK 78 billion (today’s value) to various purposes throughout the country.