In a significant step toward fostering safe and effective gambling practices, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and the Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gaming (NBO) have formalized their commitment through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The objective is to promote responsible gambling regulation and licensing in Norway, especially in light of Finland’s recent moves to dismantle its gambling monopoly.

Currently, Norway employs a monopoly system for gambling operations instead of the licensing approach adopted by other Scandinavian nations and wider Europe. According to a report from H2 Gambling Capital, which predicted that 43% of Norway’s online gaming revenue would be made offshore this year, Carl Fredrik Stenstrøm, the General Secretary of NBO, noted that “Increasingly strong signals indicate that the Norwegian monopoly is not the most effective solution for consumer protection or industry integrity.”

In contrast, neighboring Finland is undergoing a transition from its monopoly system to a licensing model. Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), lauds this move, asserting it is “a welcome step towards meaningful and overdue gambling reform in Finland,” which “would provide greater choice and safeguards to Finnish consumers, ensure fairer competition between operators and enable the Finnish authorities to have greater control over their online gambling market.”

Stenstrøm emphasizes the need for a comprehensive and international approach to regulating the fully digital betting service. He states, “Betting is a fully digital and international service that cannot be confined to local peculiarities. To establish the best possible framework, the gambling offering must be viewed comprehensively and regulated accordingly. The partnership between NBO and IBIA ensures a concerted effort to address responsible practices and supporting initiatives aimed at minimising the impact of gambling-related harm.”

Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, underscores the importance of the MoU, stating, “IBIA welcomes the establishment of an MoU with the NBO… The lack of licensing for responsible regulated betting operators in Norway hinders market oversight, consumer protection and the implementation of effective sports betting integrity provisions.”

The collaboration between IBIA and NBO comes at a crucial juncture when the gambling landscape in Scandinavia is witnessing a significant shift, with an increased focus on responsible gambling practices and effective regulatory frameworks.

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