Norway to review existing online casino gaming rules

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 9 Oct 2020, 3:04 p.m.

The Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gaming (Norsk Bransjeforening for Onlinespill/NBO) has called for a complete review on rules relating to the casino business sector. This happened only days before we announced that Norway plans to introduce an integrated regulatory body, instead of having multiple organisations dealing with different casino gaming branches. The NBO said the bill which has a purpose of unifying the existing Lottery Act is of a poor and low protection value for customers.

Ensuring quality and standardised gaming operations 

In the submissions which were enclosed during the consultation phase, the NBO said channelling rates are currently below 50%. The problem gambling scenarios have been more than doubled in the period between 2013 and 2019, with Norwegian players having no protection under the domestic regulations.

The NBO asks for a licensing model for private operators, with a tax rate of 15% which it says would result in an expected channelling rate of more than 95%. Licences should be available to companies that meet various criteria, particularly related to responsible gambling and self-exclusion programmes. Moreover, all licensed operators must be able to account for customers available funds both to detect possible frauds and money laundering.

Carl Fredrik Stenstrøm, the general secretary of NBO, said that through these measures, the Norwegian authorities would ensure a much higher, standardised degree of casino gaming processes in Norway. In turn, this will generate higher revenue in taxes and offer better protection for players.

In terms of online and offline marketing, it is said that the promotion of legal games is permitted on a limited basis. Still, operators must ensure they’re presented in a safe, responsible manner and don’t have call-to-actions that encourage gambling-related activities.

The consultation process ended on 29th of September, with Norwegian’s regulator Lotteritilsynet already supporting the new framework. This move called for tighter restrictions around play, proposing that all forms of gambling must be limited to registered players, which would ensure better insight into customer’s activity.

Major decline in revenue for Sweden’s online casino operators  

Online casino operations in Sweden have witnessed a noticeable decline in revenue since Government restrictions were imposed in July. As reported from the Swedish media outlets, some of the country’s online licensees have seen their revenue fall nearly one-third after the limit on online casino deposits and bonuses.

The decision to introduce deposit and bonus limits came as a response to the current global health disruption, which was supposed to resolve possible challenges regarding problem gambling. A few market analysis and consultations with experts in this industry pointed out that these measures would do more harm in the long run. A few months later, the deposit limit has proved particularly troubling for many companies, forcing several customers to leave the licensing system and the Swedish online casino market. Among the companies affected by the situation are the Kindred Group with -28.7% decline from June to August and LeoVegas with -29.6%. Bet365, which is predominantly focusing on the sports betting market, has noted a decrease which is less than 6%.

The CEO of Sweden’s online gambling industry group (BOS) Gustaff Hoffsredt said that casino-reliant operators were under pressure during these months. Many players from Sweden avoided the new conditions and restrictions by transferring their assets to internationally licensed online casinos that are not subject to the new limits. However, he adds that operators were not in a panic, since most of them are well established in other markets where things are going better, and processes are “business as usual”.

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