According to weekend reports in Gambling News Review, 4Flush and Launchpoker, the Norwegian government minister responsible for matters gambling is planning a Norwegian equivalent of the US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
The US law has caused so much grief in the industry by inhibiting financial transactions with online gambling companies. In an unsourced, but seemingly authoritative report, the portals claim that Norwegian culture Minister Trond Griske may be taking a page from the US legislation book on hamstringing online gambling in the Scandinavian country. Griske is reportedly putting together new legislation for implementation in the northern spring.
Online poker in particular is immensely popular among Scandinavian players, many of whom have shown a world class capability in the game by winning tournaments and large prize purses at events both online and around the world.
The „justification“ for a ban of financial transactions with online gambling companies will undoubtedly be the protection of Norwegian problem gamblers, but there can be little doubt that the state gambling monopoly Norske Tipping is being protected.
InfoPowa research indicates that up to 71 000 Norwegians – 1.5 percent of the population – have a serious gambling problem and 133 000 are considered to be in the risk zone. The average problem gambler in Norway spends euros 5 000 a year on gaming.
According to press archives, in 2006 Griske worked hard to ban all land slot machines except those controlled by the state monopoly. As a result all the slot machines in Norway are now government-run by Norske Tipping, generating (according to our InfoPowa check on the latest half year numbers from July this year) revenues that have grown by 4.6 percent.
While Norway is not a full member of the European Union, it is part of the EU’s market and EFTA, located in the European Economic Area.