IBIA signs MoU with Norwegian online gaming association

The International Betting Integrity Association is supporting calls for Norway to open its online gambling market to competition.

Norway.- The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gaming (NBO). The MoU signals the intention to collaborate in the areas of regulation and betting integrity.

The move is particularly noteworthy since Norway maintains a state monopoly on gambling, which is provided by Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. However, in signing the MoU, the IBIA is putting its support behind calls to open the Norwegian market. The two bodies said that they will seek to create a framework for cooperation to promote a licensing regime.

They highlighted estimates made by H2 Gambling Capital, which predicts that 43 per cent of online betting revenue generated in Norway in 2024 will go to offshore operators.

IBIA CEO Khalid Ali said: “IBIA welcomes the establishment of an MoU with the NBO. We will seek to support the NBO’s challenge of the continuation of a monopoly-style approach to betting in Norway.

“The lack of licensing for responsible regulated betting operators in Norway hinders market oversight, consumer protection and the implementation of effective sports betting integrity provisions.”

NBO general secretary Carl Fredrik Stenstrøm said: “Increasingly strong signals indicate that the Norwegian monopoly is not the most effective solution for consumer protection or industry integrity. Betting is a fully digital and international service that cannot be confined to local peculiarities. To establish the best possible framework, the gambling offering must be viewed comprehensively and regulated accordingly.

“The partnership between NBO and IBIA ensures a concerted effort to address responsible practices and supporting initiatives aimed at minimizing the impact of gambling-related harm.”

Norwegian government stance

However, unlike Finland, which plans to end its monopoly system, the government of Norway has shown no inclination to open the market to private operators. On the contrary, it has passed legislation to toughen enforcement action.

In October, the government proposed new legislation to introduce DNS blocking against unlicensed gambling sites. The move would require internet providers to implement technical measures to prevent access to named websites using the domain name system (DNS). Players would be redirected to a landing page that explains why the website has been blocked. The move involves an amendment to the Gambling Act and was recommended by the Ministry of Culture and Equality.

Lubna Jaffery, minister for culture and equality, said: “We do this primarily to prevent and limit gambling problems and to look after vulnerable players and their relatives. If foreign gambling companies had followed Norwegian law, this would not have been imposed on the internet providers. We have to regulate this by targeting actors over whom we have jurisdiction.”

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