Norway Expected to Authorise DNS Blocking

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Director of the Norwegian Lottery Authority Henrik Nordal said that the government is “in favour” of granting the body new powers to DNS block unlicensed sites, with a speculated implementation date of January 2024.

The new powers granted to the Norwegian Lottery Authority would mark the end of a process that began close to two years ago, when Norway first put DNS blocking unlicensed sites to consultation.

Nordal argued that unlicensed gambling sites represented a particular danger to Norwegian customers due to the “aggressive” nature of the games that make it possible to lose a large amount of money in a short time period.

Highlighting a 2019 population survey, Nordal highlighted the fact that 55,000 Norwegians currently struggle with a gambling problem, while 122,000 are at risk of developing one. Subsequently, problem gambling costs the Nordic country KR5.0bn (€440m) per year in societal costs.

“DNS blocking makes the riskiest gambling games less available and thus protects Norwegian players. It also means that many people are not aware of the risk of playing with the illegal gambling companies. With DNS blocking, the players will be notified and stopped when they are on their way to such a money game. This is an effective information measure that will also have a preventive effect,” Nordal said.

In addition to the blocking Nordal emphasised other measures implemented to mitigate the unlicensed sector in Norway. These include a ban on television advertising and a payment intermediary ban that led to a number of banks severing commercial relationships with the gaming businesses.

“We are getting more and more tools and collectively we see that this has a good effect. We have advocated introducing DNS blocking as soon as possible, because it is a good measure,” said Nordal.

Once the new regulations come into force in 2024, gambling businesses that do not cease from broadcasting unlicensed gambling into Norway will be subject to DNS blocking orders.

The Authority said that it intends to use the intervening time to conduct legal proceedings against such organisations with the threat of a compulsory fine if they do not halt their activities, as the regulator has imposed on Unibet and Betsson in the past.

“We will give this work high priority. When it concerns companies that intend to withdraw from Norway and have implemented measures that show that it is real, we will prioritise guidance over reaction and DNS blocking,” Nordal added.

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