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Compliance Updates

EGBA Brings Case Against Online Payment Blockings In Norway

George Miller

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EGBA Brings Case Against Online Payment Blockings In Norway
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This week the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), along with Entercash payments processor, brought a case against the Norwegian Ministry of Culture in Oslo District Court over the Norwegian government’s policy of seeking to block online gambling payments.

EGBA believes payment blocking infringes on European Union law and the freedom of payment processors to do business across the European Economic Area (EEA).

Instead of enforcing restrictive payment blocking measures to protect the revenues of the state monopoly and fend off outside competition from EU-licensed operators, EGBA urges the Norwegian government to undertake a more fundamental review of how the country regulates online gambling.

The adoption of a multi-licensing regime – like in the vast majority of EEA countries, including those with existing state-owned monopolies – would improve the functioning of Norway’s online gambling market and bring with it several other benefits.

Online gambling is a consumer-driven market – but monopolies naturally restrict consumer choice. This lack of choice available locally might lead some Norwegian players to search elsewhere and play on gambling websites based outside of Norway – which neither apply Norwegian laws nor pay taxes in Norway.

The introduction of a multi-licensing regime would enable a greater variety of products, brands and competition on the Norwegian market to meet existing consumer demand. This would make the local market more attractive to Norwegian players and encourage more of them to play on websites which are licensed and regulated in Norway – and not on websites based outside it.

This is important because it would ensure more Norwegian players are protected by Norwegian laws when they play online and generate greater tax revenues for the state from local gambling activity.

“In today’s digital age it is virtually impossible to enforce national borders on the internet but that’s what the Norwegian authorities are trying to do by introducing payment blockings for online betting.

Rather than being a tool to benefit consumers, such restrictive measures are aimed at protecting the revenues of the state-owned monopoly by cutting off outside competition from reputable EU-licensed operators.

This is not only in breach of the EU’s internal market principles but out of step with the reality of a consumer-driven betting market, where players will inevitably search around the internet for value and choice in the games they play.

This reality is why we’re seeing national gambling monopolies across Europe slowly being replaced by multi-licensing regimes which facilitate better consumer choice and enable better functioning national markets. Norway is one of only two EEA countries which do not have a licensing regime yet – but it is inevitable they will have to confront this decision sooner or later.

The introduction of a multi-licensing regime would be a win-win: it would encourage more effective channelling which would benefit player protection, more effective local control of gambling activity and increased tax revenue for the Norwegian state.” – Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, EGBA.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Central Europe

Local Authorities in Bratislava Introduce New Restrictions on Gambling

Niji Narayan

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Local Authorities in Bratislava Introduce New Restrictions on Gambling
Photo Source: sme.sk
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Local authorities in Bratislava have introduced new restrictions on gambling in the Slovak capital. Changes to the National Gambling Act which came into force earlier this year have allowed municipalities to take action against the dangerous vice.

As per the latest restrictions, gambling halls can no longer operate within 200 meters of schools or other educational facilities, institutions servicing children and youth and treatment centres for non-substance addictions.

Bingo, board games, gambling machines, video game terminals, technical equipment operated directly by players, or other technical equipment used for gambling will be completely banned from use on certain dates – most notably during national holidays.

Currently, a petition for a complete ban on gambling in Bratislava is underway and it has already gathered over 100,000 signatures. In September, Matúš Vallo, mayor of the Slovak capital announced the creation of a new working group that will be communicating with citizens and civil association and trying to answer their concerns.

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Australia

ACMA to Block Illegal Offshore Gambling Websites

Niji Narayan

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ACMA to Block Illegal Offshore Gambling Websites
Photo Source: itnews.com.au
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Australia’s telecom watchdog is going to block access to illegal gambling websites hosted offshore. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will investigate suspect sites and, if unable to take enforcement action, order internet providers to block them.

The chair of ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin, said the new laws were a valuable additional weapon against illegal online gambling.

“There is little to no recourse for consumers engaging with these unscrupulous operators,” O’Loughlin said.

She said 65 illegal companies had left Australia since ACMA began enforcing new rules against offshore sites in 2017.

The communications minister, Paul Fletcher, said the sites accounted for about $100m in lost tax revenue each year.

“Too often these offshore operators are defrauding Australians and their websites typically provide very few, if any, harm-minimisation controls,” Fletcher said.

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Compliance Updates

Illinois Gaming Board Grants First Land-Based Casino License to Rivers Casino

Niji Narayan

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Illinois Gaming Board Grants First Land-Based Casino License to Rivers Casino
Photo Source: fadmagazine.com
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The Illinois Gaming Board has granted the state’s first land-based casino license to Rivers Casino.

Granted under the sweeping expansion of the state’s gaming sector that was signed into law in June, the new license enables operator Rush Street Gaming to move its gambling operation beyond the shallow pool of water it built to qualify as a riverboat. Rivers Casino opened in 2011 under the provisions of the Riverboat Gambling Act of 1990.

Rush Street plans to invest $150 million to expand the casino and increase the number of gaming positions to 2000.

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