Another reminder that, although the European Union itself has rules regulating online gambling in all member countries, the countries themselves still offer a wide variety of laws within those regulations: The Scandinavian country of Norway is reportedly debating blocking all online gambling.
“This follows a survey, attributed to the Norsk Tipping state gambling monopoly, suggesting that tough measures to curb online gambling already taken by the Norwegian government had failed,” writes Jane Fae Ozimek at the Register.
“Far from reducing the incidence of online gambling, more Norwegians than ever – some four per cent of Norwegians of those over the age of 18 – were depositing money on foreign gambling sites,” the article continues.
As a result, some Norwegian lawmakers are considering implementing ISP blocking that would push out foreign operators.
Norway currently has online gambling laws similar to the United States, where the government attempts to control the industry by outlawing payment processing to offshore online gambling sites. Nonetheless, the article continues, “there are still 253 Norwegian sites that offer gameplay in English or Norwegian and accept wagers in Norwegian Kronor or US Dollars,” citing numbers from GamblingZion.com.
The big picture
This example of the unpredictability of online gambling laws within the larger EU market reinforces what Betfair Legal Counsel Mark Warrington recently told Bulgaria’s Standart news:
“Every member state is free to regulate the online gambling in its territory, so there isn’t a single regulator for the time being. However, each watchdog should observe the common European legislation, which means that it should be consistent in its actions, transparent and, most importantly, not discriminating.”
Warrington goes on to single out Spain and the UK as having particularly fair models allowing foreign online gambling operators, and cites France as a country that does not excel in that particular area.