UPDATED August 18, 15:30pm - Clarification on the nature of the notices as warnings.
The Norwegian Gambling Authority (NGA) has sent bet365 and ComeOn notices to stop offering online gambling to Norwegians, as cases against Kindred Group and Betsson continue.
On June 6, the NGA sent notices of orders to six Malta Gaming Authority-licensed online gambling companies: Hillside Sports (bet365), ComeOn and four of its brands, saying it believes it has legal grounds to order the operators to stop doing business in Norway, a lawyer for the regulator confirmed on Monday (August 14).
The documents warned that official orders to cease business and daily fines would follow if the companies did not leave the market. ComeOn were given until August 21 to object to the notice of a suspension order and ensuing fine.
The four brands are Folkeriket, which bills itself online as “Norway’s Best Online Casino”; GetLucky; Mobilebet; and Mobilautomaten, which have separate Malta licences, along with ComeOn.
ComeOn was formerly a publicly traded company based in Sweden called Cherry Gaming. It is now based in Malta, as are its four brands.
Previous orders have been upheld against Kindred and Betsson.
Daily fines against both, however, have been paused based on appeals, with the regulator reviewing the cases to see if the Swedish-listed companies are now in compliance. That is, genuinely out of the country.
The Norwegian government and regulator have aggressively moved to protect the country’s gambling monopoly, Norsk Tipping, even as estimates put the monopoly’s online gambling share at 50 percent or less.
Bet365 did not return a request for comment and a ComeOn spokesperson did not respond to emailed questions in time for publication.
Betsson “has informed us that they now are complying and that their offer of gambling no longer is aimed at Norway”, said Trude Høgseth Felde, senior advisor to the authority. “We will in the near future assess [Betsson’s] gambling offer and conclude on whether [Betsson] has left Norway.”
The ComeOn websites use Norwegian language, some have Norwegian names, they use the (47-) Norwegian area codes and offer Norwegian language customer service, the authority said.
Bet365’s website is “adapted and particularly designed” for Norwegian players, with registration settings for Norwegian addresses and phone numbers, and it offers customer support in Norwegian, along with tips for specifically Norwegian deposit and withdrawal options, the regulator said.
It websites are available also through Norwegian-language affiliate sites such as Norgecasino.com, the regulator wrote.
The regulator also said customer support offers advice on options on how to avoid having a Norwegian bank stopping transactions.
Kindred lost an appeal to Borgarting Court of Appeal and it now has until September 1 to submit plans for implementing the court’s ruling for review, Høgseth Felde said.