EFTA Warns Norway Over Online Betting Ban

The Surveillance Authority of the EFTA has informed Norwegian officials that a plan to implement a blocking of payments to online betting sites breaks free trade rules for the Internal Market of member nations. Norway is trying to set up a ban on payment processing to all online Offshore Betting sites, with only state Betting monopolies exempted.

The EFTA has four member nations, including Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization is responsible for maintaining the group’s free trade and partnership agreements, as well as joining the members under the European Economic Area Agreement with the European Union to create a single Internal Market.

The EEA provides for the free movement of goods, services, and capital throughout the EU and EFTA. Betting is among the services specifically included in the free trade deal.

The Surveillance Authority has informed Norway the blocking of financial transactions to and from operators legally established within the Internal Market is a violation of EFTA regulations. Norwegian authorities have been informed if they continue with the planned August implementation, they may face infringement procedures before the EFTA courts.

An argument that the government is trying to protect gamblers can be made, but seems defeated by the aggressive recruitment and marketing campaigns run by the Norwegian Betting monopolies.

“The Norwegian authorities appear to be more motivated by the need to protect revenues from gambling, but this is not a valid justification to restrict the internal market rules,” commented Clive Hawkswood, CEO of the Remote Gaming Association.

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