Facebook has taken down 36 pages that promoted unlicensed gambling operations in Norway after receiving a request from the Norwegian gambling regulator.
Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet) oversees the regulation of the gambling space in Norway and ensures that errant operators do not target Norwegian residents. The pages taken down included those for Pokio, Vera & John, Norgesautomaten, Guts, ComeOn, Vennepoker and Kommunepoker.
offshore gambling operators are prohibited from marketing to the nation’s residents
The content on the Facebook pages was in Norwegian and called on residents to sign up for accounts. This practice is not allowed in Norway, as offshore gambling operators are prohibited from marketing to the nation’s residents.
Facebook was helpful
Lotteritilsynet also noted that this type of promotional activity violates Facebook’s own rules. To market through a Facebook page, a gambling platform must be licensed to operate in the nation it is targeting. The gambling regulator noted in a Monday statement that it has reported instances of illegal marketing to Facebook for several years.
Lotteritilsynet’s lawyer and senior advisor Monica Alisøy Kjelsnes said that the regulator was happy that Facebook removed these pages. She added, however, that more still needs to be done to crack down on unlicensed operators that target locals.
She said that other vehicles such as television commercials, sponsorship deals, and non-social media websites were also being used by these operators to access Norwegian players.
Battling against offshore operators
The Norwegian parliament approved a legislative amendment in May that made it illegal for offshore gambling sites to advertise to Norwegian consumers online. The legislation gives more power to the Norwegian Media Authority to battle these operators, including the ability to issue orders to media companies and internet service providers to block such marketing efforts.
Norway is one of just a few European nations to still have a monopolistic gambling model. Currently, the state-run Norsk Tipping is the sole licensed operator for online gambling, allowed to offer sports betting, lotteries and keno.