The Norwegian Lotteries Authority (NGA) orders BLM Group to stop offering gambling services to Norwegian players.
The national lotteries authority Lottstift has notified the Malta-based group that BLM Brands (Betsson, Betsafe, Nordicbet, Norgesautomaten and CasinoEuro) were offering gambling and lottery without a Norwegian licence permit.
Under Norway’s monopoly system, the state-controlled company Norsk Tipping is the only operator licensed to offer online casino games.
The Norwegian Lotteries Authority may impose a coercive fine in order to implement the Lotteries Act and Gambling Act.
“Although BML Group’s gambling licence is provided by the Maltese authorities, the illegal gaming offer takes effect in Norway by the company offering the games on the internet, inviting players in the Norwegian market to participate, and allowing Norwegians to register as players,” Lottstift said in the letter.
“The Lottery Act and the Gambling Act also apply to gambling from abroad when the offer is directed at Norway. The Norwegian Lotteries Authority’s work with the payment service ban has also revealed that BML Group Limited is actively seeking to circumvent the Norwegian ban on arranging payment to and from foreign gambling companies.”
Lottstift has also added in its letter to BLM:
“If the illegal relationship does not cease after the decision has been made, the Norwegian Lotteries Authority will consider notifying coercive fines that run until the illegal gambling offer has been rectified or terminated.
“A coercive fine is not a punishment, and the obligation to pay a coercive fine is not depending on guilt, but is triggered when an illegal relationship occurs, and should be set so high that it does not pay financially for the person responsible not to comply with the decision.”
In May 2021, the regulator has previously issued warnings to another company (SEOButler). The national gambling regulator Lotteritilsynet said it would fine the SEO service provider SEOButler NOK2,000 (€198) per day for promoting illegal gambling websites.
Lotteritilsynet said: “SEOButler has on a number of occasions been made aware of breaches of the marketing and dissemination ban.
“Lotteritilsynet takes a serious view of repeated breaches of the regulations, especially after the actor is made aware of which specific cases are considered to be breaches of the rules.”
The Norwegian Lotteries Act 1998-99 states that a fine should be large enough “that it eliminates the benefits the offender may have by continuing the illegal activity” but “should not be unreasonably high”.