The Norwegian Regulator has sent a notice to a total of nine banks, asking them to submit documentation and other pieces of information. This pertains to the regulator imposing a ban on facilitating payments to operators functioning in the region without the local license. The goal here is to safeguard residents and prevent the problem of excessive gambling.
The step has so far worked with a Survey pointing in the right direction, which shows that problem gambling has indeed come down. Many participants have said that they did not gamble because there was no interaction with the operator.
Back to Norwegian banks, they have 3 weeks to submit the required documents and prove that all the necessary steps have been taken from their side. These are to demonstrate that they do not process payments on illegal platforms anymore. The Norwegian regulator, Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet, has quoted Section 5 of the Gambling Act.
That section of the Act clearly specifies that banks cannot facilitate payments on platforms without local gambling licenses. Payment primarily relates to accepting transactions for deposits and withdrawals of funds. The Norwegian Gambling Authority is now closely monitoring the enforcement of the ban. More banks are expected to be covered under the investigation. Meaning, nine banks are under the radar, but it will soon expand to more banks in the times to come.
According to the gambling news, Rannveig Gram Skar from Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet has said that their focus has been on imposing a ban for a long time. It is only for the first time now that they are openly conducting compliance inspections, added Gram in the statement. They have acknowledged that the ban is an important tool to protect the region’s sole proprietorship model and prevent any negative consequences of gambling.
Skar has also summarized the point that they are largely looking into: effective compliance by banks with the decisions of Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet.
The development comes at a time when several unlicensed online gambling companies have announced their departure from Norway. They are currently liable to face an investigation from regulatory authorities for operating without obtaining a local license. Brands that are leaving Norway are Bet365, Betsson, and Unibet, among others.
Meanwhile, the gambling authority of Denmark has announced the launch of a game card for residents who choose to place wagers in person. The game card will come into effect on October 1, 2023. It will ensure that all the winnings are directly transferred to the cardholder’s bank account. It will carry the self-exclusion status for all the players.
On the other hand, the Swedish government has announced its intention of increasing the gambling tax to 22%. The current tax rate for gambling in Sweden is 18%.
Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet is now focusing on ensuring that the banks have enforced the regulator’s decision. Banks will no longer be able to facilitate payments for operators who have not obtained a local gambling license.