Norway To Block Domains of International OperatorsBy Luke Haward, CDC Gaming ReportsMay 11, 2018 at 3:52 pmNotwithstanding opposition within the government itself, Norway’s parliament approved a set of new measures and regulations concerning gambling on Monday May 7th, which had been proposed back in April by a coalition of opposition parties. None of these laws make gambling on unlicensed sites a crime for the individual player, but they do enhance Norway’s ability to impose penalties and punishments upon those who market the unlicensed services.The standout feature amongst the new rules however, and the one grabbing the most headlines, is a plan in place to block the domain names of any international gambling sites which are licensed outside of Norway and in competition with the country’s monopolies on gambling provided by Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto. The vote secures a requirement upon the government to put in place legislation which will bring the new regulations into force, so there is a decent amount of political ground still to cover before they are actually in effect. Once in place, the Norwegian Gambling Authority (NGA) will have greater powers to penalise unlicensed operators for targeting residents with their products.International operators have dismissed the move as merely symbolic, given the comparative ease with which web users can bypass such blocks using such things as virtual private networks (VPNs) which mask a user’s location, pointing to its relative failure as a strategy enacted in Russia. However this is arguably a bit of counterspin on their part, as there are clearly many casual gamers who will choose to abide by these blocks either because they prefer to play within a legally sound framework, or because they do not want the perceived hassle of setting up such a bypass, or simply lack the technological knowhow to do so. This is likely to hurt their bottom line, and they know it.Companies such as Kindred Group who have been doing business in Norway for some time have also been lobbying hard for an end to the current monopoly, arguing that a gaming license system should be introduced.This is not the first measure Norway is taking to curb gambling. They are currently redesigning advertising standards for gambling services, so that international operators will not be able to exploit satellite TV systems broadcast from the rest of Europe into Norway to carry their ads. They also wish to curb the ability for local payment processors to allow transactions with certain specific international operators. However much the industry is lobbying, it seems politically in Norway, things are heading in very much the opposite direction from a market liberal approach.