Norway’s Potential DNS Block Bad News For Gaming and Betting Operators

Norway’s state gambling monopoly, Norsk Tipping has long been criticised despite the government claiming it allows them to have greater control over customer protection.

The restriction of consumer choice limits Norwegian bettors as to what they can bet on, who they bet with, and the odds they receive. One way that consumers have been exploring different betting markets is by using offshore betting operators.

By searching online for the best casinos, users can sign up and bet with licensed operators from around the world. This gives them far greater access to more games, betting markets, and better odds and generous offers like matched deposit bonuses and free spins to try new slot games without spending a penny.

However, the Norwegian government is considering the implementation of DNS blocking plans that could significantly limit website access.

DNS blocking or DNS filtering as it is also known is the act of blocking specific websites by using the Domain Name System. This is typically used on systems to block malicious sites, helping to protect user data.

The reason given for the proposal is to protect Norwegian bettors from betting sites that don’t adhere to Norwegian law. At present, Norway only allows state-owned businesses to offer betting with online sports betting and casinos governed by the Lottey Norsk Tipping and horse racing overseen by Norsk Rikstoto with the Norwegian Gambling Authority regulating all betting activity.

The limited options available to Norwegian consumers and the involvement of banks in blocking transactions with unlicensed operators facilitates the monopoly held by the government which is the only one of its kind in Europe apart from Finland according to the EGBA (European Gaming and Betting Association).

An alternative to this heavy-handed approach is the Swedish model that has diversified the gambling market in the neighbouring country. Sweden took steps in 2019 to pass new gambling legislation that focused on responsible gambling, and player safety, including a national exclusion register, and implemented a new betting licensing model.

This model allowed regulated sites to operate in a diverse betting environment that gave citizens a wider choice. This helped to minimise the number of online bettors exploring offshore options.

The Swedish model can also be compared to the UK betting market which is even more open. The diverse range of betting options ensures consumers have a wide and varied choice, and UK licensed operators must also be signed up to Gamstop, a similar countrywide exclusion register.

Players can still access offshore betting facilities and casinos not on Gamstop Ltd, but they have a great selection of sites to choose from that are locally governed.

It remains to be seen how Norway will move forward with its betting industry. A decision to implement DNS blocking will be seen as a move to strengthen their monopoly, limiting consumer choice and forcing citizens to look for more extreme outlets.

Should Norway decide to reassess betting laws and consider something closer to the Swedish market, this could help to introduce a more diverse gambling product to the Norwegian market and keep consumers happy.

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