Norway Taking A Cue From USA Regarding Online Casinos

Published on: December 14, 2008 

It looks like the country of Norway has decided to take a page from the United States’ book on online casinos and banning them.  In 2006 the United States passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).  The bill was cleverly concealed inside a bill that supported port security against terrorist acts and it was never debated or investigated by the members of Congress before it was passed.  The law has since caused havoc with online casinos and poker rooms, causing legitimate businesses in the online casino community to withdraw from the American market and depriving American citizens of the joy of playing.  Instead a black market online casino industry has emerged and it is preying on American citizens and growing by leaps and bounds.

Norway has decided to pass a similar law to the UIGEA that makes assisting any online gambling sites a violation of the law, including processing transactions.  So far the reaction to the new law has been met with outrage from every sector regarding the way the program has been implemented.  The Norwegian financial institutions have stated that the law is ‘unworkable’ and a ‘competitive disadvantage’.  Civil libertarians are completely horrified by it.

Additionally, global law experts feel that the law may be violating or conflicting with the national obligations as set by the European Union.  Already a complaint about the law has been filed with the European Free Trade Association by the Remote Gambling Alliance.  The measure as it currently stands makes any assistance to the online gambling sites illegal and says that the only ‘legal’ online gambling in the country are through sites that are state owned which includes the lottery.

The global online gambling community sees the new Norwegian law as the government’s way of getting a competitive advantage by using a harsh law instead of trying to develop a superior project that would benefit all.  They feel that Norway is trying to ensure government revenues by limiting the online casinos and poker rooms, and that if they wanted to do this through a better means they needed to provide their citizens with a more varied gambling option instead of simply banning the online gaming.

How long the Norwegian law stays in effect remains to be seen.  Norway has to deal with their obligations to the European Union which could force the law back out of existence in order to be able to keep from being fined by the European Union for fair trade agreement infractions.

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