Despite an influx of new rules and regulations recently passed n Norway, online poker players of offshore sites may not experience much of a disruption in their normal gaming experience.
In Norway, online gambling is all but restricted save for Norse Tipping and Norse Rikstoto, the two state-owned companies that have been allowed to provide online gaming to their citizens. Between the two sites, players can engage in sports betting, Keno, lotteries and scratch tickets. But even with all of the variants of betting allowed by these state run sites, players of all games, including poker, have sought to play outside of the network, resulting in a backlash from the Norwegian gambling authority.
Roughly six months ago, the Authority had turned its attention to the financial institutions and accounts that had been processing “offshore” gambling transactions. Local banks were ordered to stop processing payments in association with a trio of bank accounts and two payment processors that have known affiliations with unregulated gaming sites.
The bank accounts, owned by Magyar s.r.o, and payment processor Trustly AB were effectively blacklisted and banks have been orders not to process and activity into or out of these accounts.
The crippling of financial transactions was just one step government officials of Norway was looking to curb the outside influence of gaming companies. In a host of new measures adopted in the Parliamentary and Cultural Committee of the Storting, the Lottery Authority will be blocking foreign gaming companies and helping Norsk Tipping maintain its stronghold on the gambling market. Additionally, in an effort to curb problem gambling, Norsk Tipping is being reigned in and curbing the promotion of their offerings. It should be noted that Norsk Tipping does not currently offer online poker, which has those looking to play online flocking to other online operators to hop in cash games and tournaments.
While these measures would justifiably concern those who play online poker from Norway’s borders, it is not quite clear if the upcoming regulations and attempts will finally prevent outside operators from offering what they have been offering for some time. Norwegian players, despite the fact that online poker is effectively “banned” under the current laws, are still able to deposit, play and cash out on a number of offshore platforms.
The status of online poker in Norway and those companies that would be Norwegian poker providers are seemingly existing under more of a warning than laws that are actually enforced. Despite the crackdown and the government’s desire to rid themselves of the competition, players are continuing to proceed in picking their favorite online poker site and playing without fear of losing their investment.
Offshore companies have an argument that the safeguarding of the Norsk Tipping monopoly is in violation of the European Union’s current laws on free market trade. This keeps the window open for companies like 888poker and PokerStars to continue to include the Norwegian player pool in their games.
Players may experience pop-up warnings or some other mild notification that they are not supposed to playing at unregulated sites, but for the foreseeable future, despite the new measures, in Norway it looks to be business as usual until further notice.