Legislation News of the Week: Austria Fights Illegal Gambling, Norway’s Results in the Problem Gambling Sector

Norway makes strides in tackling problem gambling, achieving over 50% reduction since 2019. Austrian financial police launch a successful crackdown on illegal gambling, levying €492,000 in fines and seizing 76 gaming machines. Meanwhile, Dutch lottery groups face potential €1M fines for license violations, ordered to cease offering unauthorized online games. The Netherlands implements a strict gambling ad ban to safeguard vulnerable groups and youth from addiction. And Gaming Corps achieves an exclusive Swedish B2B license, strengthening its position in the responsible gambling market.

Norway's success in the problem gambling sector

A recent survey by Spillforsk at the University of Bergen shows that problem gambling in Norway has been reduced by over 50% since 2019. Approximately 23,000 individuals currently suffer from problem gambling, with 93,000 at risk. 

These figures mark a significant improvement from the previous survey, which reported 55,000 problem wagerers and 122,000 at risk. Henrik Nordal, Director of the Norwegian Lottery Authority, credited their effective measures for the positive outcome while acknowledging the ongoing efforts to prevent gambling problems.

Austrian financial police crackdown on unlawful gambling

During the first quarter of 2023, the country's financial police, known as the Bundesministerium Finanzen, demonstrated their unwavering commitment to upholding the law by imposing substantial fines amounting to €492,000 for illicit gambling activities. These fines served as a deterrent to protect the integrity of the Austrian economy and ensure fair competition for law-abiding businesses. 

The dedicated efforts of the police led to the inspection of 46 properties, resulting in the discovery of 27 instances of criminal behavior that warranted legal action. In Vienna alone, 20 criminal complaints were filed, leading to fines totaling €300,000. 

As the quarter concluded, the police's fraud prevention office further bolstered their stance by seizing 76 prohibited gaming machines in Salzberg, marking a significant victory in the ongoing battle against unlawful gambling practices. These decisive measures reflect Austria's strong stance against illegal activities and its determination to safeguard its financial ecosystem for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.

Dutch lottery groups face a bulky penalty for license breaches

Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling watchdog, has issued a stern warning to two lottery providers, cautioning them about potential penalties amounting to €1 million in case they persist in offering games that surpass their authorized boundaries. Postcode Loterij and VriendenLoterij have been ordered to temporarily cease offering online games not permitted under their lottery licenses. 

Violation of this order could result in penalty payments of €250,000 per week, with total fines capped at €1m. The KSA considers certain games offered by the operators as online games of chance, which fall outside the lottery license's coverage. The lottery operators plan to appeal the decision.

Netherlands implements strict gambling ad ban

KSA sets clear rules for untargeted ad ban in the Netherlands, aiming to protect vulnerable groups and young people from gambling obsession. Mass-media platforms like TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines are prohibited from gambling advertising. Public places, including billboards and bus shelters, are off-limits too. 

However, targeted advertising is allowed online, via direct mail, on-demand TV, online gambling platforms, and social media with conditions to safeguard vulnerable viewers. Operators must ensure that 95% of viewers are 24 or older, and an opt-out option should be provided. Sponsorship will also be limited as untargeted advertising.

Gaming Corps secures exclusive Swedish B2B license

Gaming Corps, a major player in the gaming industry, has reached a noteworthy milestone by obtaining an exclusive B2B supplier license for operating in Sweden. This coveted license was granted on May 25th and is set to be valid from July 1, 2023, to June 30th, 2028. The company's subsidiary, Gaming Corps Malta Ltd, played a crucial role in securing this license, which was approved by the esteemed Swedish regulator, Spelinspektionen.

The application for the B2B license was submitted in March to ensure compliance with the new regulations that now require all Swedish suppliers to hold such licenses. This proactive step aligns with the country's aim of fostering a regulated and responsible gambling environment. The recent regulatory amendments introduced by Spelinspektionen have reformed the process of authorizing B2B supplier licenses, with the primary objective of eradicating unregulated black market operators and promoting consumer protection.

Gaming Corps' CEO, Juha Kauppinen, expressed his satisfaction with the growing trend of clearer regulations and the industry's increased focus on responsible gambling practices. Kauppinen welcomed the acquisition of the Swedish license and emphasized the company's commitment to operating within legal boundaries and delivering outstanding gaming experiences.

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