As of June 1, the new Norwegian gambling laws are in full effect, restricting payment methods for Norway’s online players at foreign-operated casinos. At the same time, Playtech software seems to be making inroads into a system which may soon be opening up to outside casinos.
Similarly to the current American gambling laws, Norway-based financial institutions are hereby requested by the Norwegian national government not to accept transactions to or from online casinos not approved by the government, currently limited to Norwegian internet casino providers Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto. Norway is the first country to take such measures in an unregulated market.
This setup could, of course, attract the attention of the European Commission, which has overturned many such companies’ monopolies based on the “freedom of goods and services” principle. Though Norway is not a member state of the European Union, the country is in the EC.
And though the new law just went into effect, the tide may already be turning. In May, the US-based Scientific Games Corporation won the bid to provide Norsk Tipping with its online technology infrastructure for gaming for 12 years. Scientific Games is now closely tied in with casino game software producer Playtech, with whom a full partnership agreement was signed early in 2010.
Norsk Tipping is expected to implement Scientific Games/Playtech’s lottery central system technology in early 2011, while the American company will provide service and maintenance through 2023. With such a relationship in place and regulation legislation being discussed, many in the industry are optimistic enough to believe liberalization of Norway’s market is just a matter of time.