Norwegian banks stepping up efforts against illegal gambling according to Lottstift

Lottstift demands Norwegian banks step up vigilance of gambling transactions

The Norwegian Gambling Authority, Lottstift, has highlighted the importance of the country’s banking sector in countering ‘illegal gambling’ offerings.

According to a recent survey from the regulator, ‘more and more banks’ are making contact with customers using illegal services, earmarking Betsson and Kindred Group’s Unibet sportsbook brand as examples of such operators.

Banks and financial services providers have a ‘duty’ to discover whether customers’ money is going to and from an unlicensed operator, Lottstift asserted in a recent statement.

Silje Sægrov Amble, Lottstift Lawyer, said: “This means that the bank can be the first place gambling problems come to light. Then you can also prevent people from going for several years without telling anyone about the problem.

“Our experience is that customers change their playing patterns when the banks see them and inform them. Either they stop playing altogether or they stick to legal gambling sites under public control.”

A survey conducted by Sentio, commissioned by Lottstift, supported its statement that banks have stepped up their game when detecting unlicensed operator activities. 

The study found that eight out of 10 Norwegian banks have implemented customer-contact processes when transactions to and from illegal companies are detected, up from six out of 10 in 2020.

Additionally, banks are also placing a heavier emphasis on customer education around problem gambling threats – seven out of 10 now ‘inform about any consequences for the customer’.

On the other hand, the regulator still identified some areas for improvement in this area, pointing out that just one in four banks has information about gambling problems on their websites available to view.

Additionally, two out of three stated that gambling problems are ‘rarely or occasionally’ a topic when engaging in meetings with customers around loans.

“We believe that problem gambling should become part of the compulsory training in the bank, and we are happy to help with information.” Amble continued. 

“Problems with gambling are a public health problem, and the banks can contribute to helping people who have these problems.”

Last year saw Norway’s gambling authorities embark on a strict campaign against unlicensed operators and other firms deemed to be violating laws.

Notably, Kindred’s Trannel subsidiary has been facing ‘daily coercive fines’ of NOK 1.2m (€120,000) if it does not cease Norwegian activity, although the group has resisted and is ‘confident’ that the penalties cannot be opposed outside Norway.

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