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Norway’s casino DNS-blocking: Safety vs personal freedom

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Norway Moves Towards DNS-Blocking of Foreign Casino Websites

Introduction: 

The Norwegian government is gearing up to implement DNS-blocking of foreign online casinos, aiming to protect Norwegian players from potentially harmful gambling activities. This move is expected to take effect from January 24, 2024. 

Gambling Problems in Norway: A Growing Concern

According to a 2019 population survey, five out of ten Norwegians are unsure about the legal status of gambling providers in their country. 

The study also showed that around 55,000 Norwegians suffer from gambling problems, while an additional 122,000 are at risk of developing such issues.

The Norwegian Gaming Authority (Lotteritilsynet) believes that implementing DNS-blocking will serve as an effective preventive measure, notifying and stopping players from accessing unauthorized casino websites.

DNS-blocking refers to a process where internet service providers (ISPs) prevent users from accessing specific websites, in this case: foreign casino websites.

Ongoing Efforts to Combat Gambling Addiction

In recent years, Norway has taken significant steps to combat gambling addiction and unauthorized gambling activities. The country has already removed gambling advertisements from television screens, including Norwegian channels broadcasting from abroad. Furthermore, many banks have started blocking deposits and withdrawals from online casinos, following the ban on payment processing for such websites.

The implementation of DNS-blocking is expected to impact the online casino landscape in Norway profoundly. By restricting access to foreign casino websites, Norwegian authorities hope to direct players toward legal and regulated gambling options within the country. 

This shift is anticipated to boost the local gambling industry while ensuring a safer environment for players.

Lotteritilsynet’s Approach to Illegal Gambling Companies

Lotteritilsynet has stated that, until the DNS-blocking is in place, it will establish more regulatory cases against illegal gambling companies, ordering them to cease their activities in Norway and imposing fines for non-compliance. 

For example, the regulator has already taken action against companies like Unibet’s Trannel and Betsson’s BML.

At the trustworthy online casino source NettCasino you can learn more about these actions taken by the Lotteritilsynet.

Cooperation with Companies Withdrawing from the Norwegian Market

However, Lotteritilsynet is also open to cooperation with companies that demonstrate a genuine intention to withdraw from the Norwegian market. In these cases, the regulator will prioritize providing guidance over imposing penalties and implementing DNS-blocking. 

As Henrik Nordal, a representative from the Lotteritilsynet, explains, “We will prioritize this work highly. When it comes to companies that have the intention to pull out of Norway and implement measures that show it’s genuine, we will prioritize guidance over reaction and DNS-blocking.”

The Future of Online Gambling in Norway

As Norway moves towards stricter regulations for online gambling, it is crucial for the industry to adapt and comply with the new rules. While the implementation of DNS-blocking may limit the options available to players, it is expected to create a safer and more regulated environment for gambling enthusiasts. 

The legal and regulated gambling provider within Norway, Norsk Tipping, will likely experience a boost in business, leading to a more competitive and responsible market.

But How About The Principle Issues with DNS-Blocking?

1. Restricting Personal Freedom

While it is not illegal for Norwegians to gamble on foreign online casino sites, implementing DNS-blocking effectively restricts their personal freedom to access these platforms. By limiting the choices available to players, the government is indirectly controlling their actions, which could be viewed as an infringement on individual autonomy.

2. Internet Censorship Concerns

Implementing DNS-blocking raises concerns about internet censorship. The act of blocking access to certain websites can be seen as a form of control over information and a limitation on the free flow of information on the internet. This might set a precedent for further website restrictions, leading to a more controlled and censored internet experience in Norway.

3. Potential for Overreach

While the primary goal of DNS-blocking is to protect players from unregulated gambling providers, it also opens the door for potential overreach by the government. If the government begins to block access to certain websites, it may lead to questions about the criteria used to determine which sites should be blocked and whether the same approach could be applied to other industries or content areas.

4. Ineffectiveness and Workarounds

DNS-blocking is not foolproof, as tech-savvy users can find workarounds to bypass these restrictions using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or alternative DNS servers.

This could lead to a false sense of security, as the government might believe they have effectively curbed unauthorized gambling while players continue to access foreign online casino sites through alternate means.

This article was written in cooperation with BAZOOM

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