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Betsson ordered to cease Norwegian operations

Norwegian lottery officials have issued a directive ordering Betsson to cease all operations aimed at Norwegian players. In their missives, the Norwegian Lotteries Authority (Lottstift) allege that the Maltese-licensed operator is operating in the country without a license and, in doing so, are infringing on Lottstift’s long-held monopoly on lottery games.

At the heart of the matter are advertisements and marketing materials for Betsson sites, including Betsafe, that authorities say are clearly aimed at Norwegian players. More specifically, the Lottstift says that in doing so Betsson is offering lotteries and bingo games to Norwegians without a license.

The letter, which was sent out to the Malta-licensed BML Group, points out that a Maltese gaming license is simply not the same as a Norwegian license. “Although BML Group’s gambling licence is provided by the Maltese authorities, the illegal gaming offer takes effect in Norway by the company offering the games on the internet, inviting players in the Norwegian market to participate, and allowing Norwegians to register as players. The Lottery Act and the Gambling Act also apply to gambling from abroad when the offer is directed at Norway.”

Lottstift also dangled the threat of fines for Betsson saying, “If the illegal relationship does not cease after the decision has been made, the Norwegian Lotteries Authority will consider notifying coercive fines that run until the illegal gambling offer has been rectified or terminated.

“A coercive fine is not a punishment, and the obligation to pay a coercive fine is not depending on guilt, but is triggered when an illegal relationship occurs, and should be set so high that it does not pay financially for the person responsible not to comply with the decision.”