EGBA continues to fight against Norway payment blocks

Despite failing in an initial legal case in Norway earlier this week, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has expressed its confidence in succeeding in its ‘main case’ against the Norwegian Ministry of Culture in Oslo District Court.

The EGBA and Entercash teamed up earlier this year to bring a case which sought to block  igaming payments to offshore operators. 

The Oslo court found that there was a sufficient legal basis in law for the Norwegian gaming authority to block online betting payments from citizens to Entercash.

Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA, commented: “We take note of the ruling by the Oslo City Court and await with confidence the outcome of our main claim that payment blockings infringe upon the EU freedom to provide services. EGBA will reflect on the judgement before considering whether to appeal.”

While the court has ruled on two of the claims, no ruling has yet been provided on the third claim, for which the EGBA and Entercash could still prevail. The third claim, which is expected to be reviewed in Autumn, relates to whether the payment transaction ban is an illegal restriction on the EU freedom to provide services within the European Economic Area. 

The EGBA has outlined its thoughts over the Norwegian government’s policy of seeking to block online gambling payments, expressing its belief that the clampdown on transactions to offshore operators is part of a concerted effort to safeguard the monopoly of state-owned operator Norsk Tipping.

Haijer continued: “Norway is one of only two European countries  left which have a monopoly for online gambling.

“All other European countries have now introduced, or are in the process of introducing, a so-called multi-license regime which allows European companies who fulfil strict safety and quality criteria to obtain a license to provide online betting. 

“These countries have found that a high level of online consumer protection is best achieved by providing consumer choice alongside high consumer protection standards.  

“We believe payment blocking measures are being enforced by the Norwegian authorities to ensure the survival of the country’s gambling monopoly. 

“A more fundamental rethink of Norway’s gambling regime is needed, and we continue to advocate for a highly-regulated and safe online betting regulation which follows the example of Sweden and other European countries.”

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