Online Poker Ban in Norway Could Force Games Underground

Online Poker Ban in Norway Could Force Games Underground April 30, 2018 July 19, 2018 Juanjo Cato
Posted on  Apr 30, 2018 | Updated on  Jul 19, 2018 by Juanjo Cato

norway pokerWe recently reported on the details about Norway effectively banning online poker via certain gambling restrictions. The parliament of Norway is expected to approve these proposals, which will see online gambling only able to take place at state-owned platforms. Norsk Tipping is the main site for this, and since online poker is not available there, the proposals pretty much ban this from actually taking place at all.

However, it’s now predicted that once this ban comes into effect, it will push Norway’s gambling scene into the underground market. Naturally, for players who do not have any kind of problem with gambling, it won’t pose much of an issue. However, for those who are considered to be problem gamblers, the situation could be a lot more severe. This is because they’ll be forced into using unregulated sites or potentially utilise poker apps – funding their accounts with cryptocurrency rather than standard banking methods, due to the fact that the banks of Norway cannot process payments to gambling sites.

Of course, this wasn’t something that the Christian People’s Party of the country had in mind when they chose to support anti-gambling proposals. Logically speaking, it would seemingly have been better for Norway to create a regulated market for players, rather than ban online gambling at all sites except government-backed ones.

Norway’s Political System

The country of Norway has a small Parliament, featuring 169 seats that are distributed out between eight separate political parties. It only takes one of these eight parties to disagree and get worked up about an issue before they reroute themselves to the opposition coalition. This means that the opposition then has the upper hand, until a party disagrees with something else and the whole thing starts over again.

This is basically how things went with the recent discussions held over online gambling. The governing coalition has been spending its time trying to create and enforce a regulated gambling environment, taking ideas from the one that exists in the United Kingdom at current. However, the aforementioned Christian People’s Party weren’t happy with such a setup and chose to support alternative options suggested by three other parties that stand to protect the state-owned website. These proposals are expected to come into service on May 7.

Four elements of the new proposals will affect online poker players, with the first of them being that a total of 61 websites appearing on the blacklist of the Lottery Commission will go on to be DNS-blocked. These sites include popular poker rooms, such as PokerStars, Unibet and Bet365. Despite the fact that DNS-blocking is generally quite easy to bypass, it’s believed that these high-profile sites will ultimately withdraw their services from Norway once this happens. If they don’t go ahead and withdraw, then the Lottery Commission will have the ability to fine online gambling sites that go against the state gambling act and its financial codes.

Juanjo CatoAuthor

Juanjo is our European author, he will be keeping us up to date with all the happenings in the European Poker Market including the new poker liquidity deal