As for many other regulators/jurisdictions, Norway faces challenges regarding illegal cross-border marketing of foreign online gambling operators. In 2010, Norway implemented payment-blocking in order to stop money transfers between foreign gambling operators and Norwegian customers. The effects of this measure are still being evaluated. Norway is participating in the expert group established by the European Commission on the basis of the Action Plan for online gambling. The aim of this plan is to clarify the regulation on online gambling and enhance administrative corporation between member states.
Another challenging issue on the agenda is match-fixing. Some suspicious results in the Norwegian third-tier and several similar incidents in the European Football League over the last years have resulted in a collaborated effort among several Norwegian organizations, including the Gaming Authority, to prevent corrupting sport for betting purposes. Norway is also participating in the initiative taken by the Council of Europe to draw up a binding convention against match-fixing.
In 2014 the lottery-regulation opened up for organisations, which have a socially beneficial or humanitarian purpose, to apply for a permit to organize a national championship in poker played with money. This permit gives the right to arrange national championship in poker, for the benefit of the organisation, for a period of three years.
From January 1, 2015, the Norwegian government has amended the Lottery Act as regards low stakes poker, typically played in private homes between friends and individuals with close relations. Pursuant to the amended regulation, it is legal to play poker with money in private homes with a maximum of 20 players, and if the total stake per player do not exceed 1000 NOK. Furthermore, private poker arrangements are only allowed if they do not have an organized or professional character.
The Norwegian Gaming Authority also supervise illegal pyramid games in Norway.
We concluded in 2014 that WorldVentures is an illegal pyramid game. This has also been settled in one verdict from Oslo District Court in 2016. The company has stopped their business in Norway. The verdict (WorldVentures) from Oslo District Court can be read here.
The verdict was appealed to Borgarting Court of Appeal. The appeal was rejected and the state (Dept. of Culture) was acquitted in a verdict of March 5, 2018.
WorldVentures then appealed to the Supreme Court which in June 2018 concluded not to promote the case before the court. Consistent to this the verdict from Borgarting Court of Appeal is enforceable.
The verdict is the first and only about current rules for pyramid games. The regulations are from an EU-directive so the verdict is relevant to all of Europe.
On 31 May 2018, the Norwegian Gaming Authority made the decision in which Lyoness was notified that it must immediately cease all operations of, participation in and extent of its activity in Norway, as it is in violation of Section 16 second paragraph, cf. first paragraph, of the Lottery Act. Read: Lyoness must stop illegal pyramid activity in Norway.
For more information on gambling addiction and treatment please visit the Norwegian helpline.