Norway's gaming regulator has gone on the offensive, targeting online gaming operators who are illegally marketing services to potential Norwegian customers.
Social Networking Crackdown
Facebook, the world's most popular social networking site, recently complied with a request sent by Lotteritilsynet, the Norwegian Gaming Authority, to remove pages associated with online gaming operators who are illegally marketing to Norwegian customers.
Linda Vøllestad Westbye, the Head of Gambling at the Norwegian regulator, described Facebook's compliance with Norwegian gaming law as "very positive."
According to a press statement, 20 different examples of Facebook pages marketing unlicensed gaming operators in Norway were submitted for removal. The gaming regulator has also been in touch with YouTube to have other illegal gaming marketing content removed.
Warning Letters Sent to Foreign Operators
According to eGamingReview, Lotteritilsynet has also sent warning letters to foreign "illegal" gaming operators reminding them of Norway’s gambling laws and requested them to eliminate all operations and marketing targeted at Norwegian consumers.
The Director of Lotteritsynet Atle Hamar believes that, “Some companies have also publicly stated that they operate in accordance with Norwegian law, and it is wrong.”
Hamar also believes this problem is growing into a bigger problem than ever before: “The foreign online gaming companies are using increasingly famous Norwegian spokespersons or ambassadors in an attempt to market the games in Norway [and] these individuals thus contribute to the illegal marketing.”
The letter was sent to the 20 online gaming operators. Hamar stated, “In the letter, we make it clear that it may be appropriate to respond directly to these persons unless the illegal marketing lapses.”
The 20 gaming operators are listed below and include sites that offer online poker including PokerStars, Unibet, Betsson, Betsafe, and NordicBet.
While Norway is considering opening up its gaming laws to allow more competition, currently only two state-owned monopolies are legally allowed to offer gaming services to Norwegian residents.
Offshore gaming operators are continuing to offer services despite the questionable legality of doing so, generating hundreds of millions of dollars that potentially could be taxed if regulation was reformed to allow foreign operators.
Hamar recognizes this problem. “[The] Gaming Board has recently recorded increased demand and marketing of some of these companies,” he said.
Gaming reform loosening up regulations for live poker games could be on its way in Norway, as the country's Ministry of Culture has issued a recommendation asking to allow poker home games, small poker tournaments, and a national poker event within the country's borders.
Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in Norway.
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