Online companies move to counter Scandinavian legislation

Major betting companies Expekt, Ladbrokes, Betsson and Unibet have launched a new Responsible Gambling Code in Norway in a move designed to counter a government initiative to ban its citizens from transferring funds to foreign online gaming companies.

Under the proposed ban, Norwegian customers would be stopped from betting on football or cross-country skiing online but the new Code seeks to promote and strongly support responsible gambling in answer to one of the Government’s justifications for the proposals.

Unibet’s Bent Svele stated that the issue was about freedom of choice for and that the Government’s claim that it was shielding citizens from problem gambling was, in reality, a protectionist desire to maintain its State monopoly by preventing foreign operators from accepting funds from Norwegians.

Hans Martin Nakkim from Swedish-listed firm Betsson said banning online gambling financial transactions would have no impact on problem gambling in Norway and, rather than being a precondition, would represent a threat to socially responsible gambling.

An expert panel established by the Norwegian Board of Technology earlier this year showed it would be easy to bypass such bans while criminal gangs could step in to fill the vacuum and take advantage of operators not being allowed to accept Norwegian bets.

“We hope through this campaign to direct attention to these consequences and we want to initiate a broad dialogue with regard to what regulations and measures are required and which have potential to work best in practice,” said Nakkim.