EGBA reaction to Norway court ruling on payment blockings
On 16 August, the Oslo City Court ruled on two of three claims brought by Entercash, a payments service provider, and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) against Norway’s payment blocking measures in the online betting sector.
The Oslo court ruled against EGBA and Entercash’s two subsidiary claims and found there was a sufficient legal basis in Norwegian law for the Norwegian gaming authority to block online betting payments from Norwegian citizens to Entercash.
The court has not ruled on the main third claim that the payment transaction ban is an illegal restriction on the EU freedom to provide services within the European Economic Area (EEA). The case will be heard separately (expected in Autumn) and the court will rule on whether it finds payment blockings to be suitable, necessary, and consistent under the EU freedom to provide services.
“We take note of the ruling by the Oslo City Court and await with confidence the outcome of our main claim that payment blockings infringe upon the EU freedom to provide services. EGBA will reflect on the judgement before considering whether to appeal.
Norway is one of only two European countries left which have a monopoly for online gambling. All other European countries have now introduced, or are in the process of introducing, a so-called multi-license regime which allows European companies who fulfill strict safety and quality criteria to obtain a license to provide online betting. These countries have found that a high level of online consumer protection is best achieved by providing consumer choice alongside high consumer protection standards.
We believe payment blocking measures are being enforced by the Norwegian authorities to ensure the survival of the country’s gambling monopoly. A more fundamental rethink of Norway’s gambling regime is needed and we continue to advocate for a highly-regulated and safe online betting regulation which follows the example of Sweden and other European countries.” – Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, EGBA.