EGBA Files a Complaint in Norway Over Violated Data Protection Law

EGBA Files a Complaint in Norway Over Violated Data Protection Law

European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is challenging Norway’s plans to block money transfer between internationally licensed gambling websites and gamblers. On 18th January 2018, the EGBA stated that it has requested the Norwegian Data Protection Inspectorate (DPI) to scrutinize efforts by the Norwegian Gaming Authority or NGA to prevent local players from transferring money to their online accounts. 

Norwegian Payment Acts

The nation’s payment act officially banned any unauthorized online betting transaction 8 years ago, but it wasn’t until May 2017 that the NGA ordered the banks to stop accepting transactions with 7 firms thought to be enabling online gaming transactions. In December 2017, the NGA blamed 2 of these firms for subverting the ban by changing their registration details.

EGBA Claims of Privacy Protection Rules

The EGBA argued that the NGA contravened Norway’s privacy protection laws in order to access the account information that resulted in offending payment processors. It continued to claim that the authority effectively hovered up the majority of its citizen’s online information – including from people with no link to gambling whatsoever – in order to get the compromising payment data it was looking for.

To support this argument, the EGBA stated that the only place the Norwegian Authority could have acquired the info about these accounts is from a database housing data of Norwegian residences (that is, the Foreign Exchange Register) to which the Norway Gambling Authority has no right to access or scrutinize, according to the country’s law. The concern, according to the EGBA, is that its beliefs that the authority illegally gained access to Norway’s banking database, in the said violation of the nation’s consumer protection laws.

One of the 7 blocked accounts is owned by an EGBA and online-gambling operator Betclic Everest Company, thus getting the EGBA into the equation. 

Different Opinions

Maarten Haijer, the EGBA secretary general, stated that his organization suspected the authority of making “an obvious breach of data and information protection laws” by unlawfully accessing the said database. He argued the DPI to “probe and take the necessary action if need be.”

Maarten also stated that internationally licensed betting operators are required to observe firm data protection laws and the laws require the same from different public authorities such as the NGA.

Norway’s Preference

Norway would like all its online gamers to patronize only the Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping state-owned monopolies. Furthermore, in an effort to cut off the flow of money, the state is drafting new laws to close down on all international casinos operators’ ability to advertise their business to Norwegian punters. These rules are expected to be enacted by summer.

In Conclusion

The EGBA complaint shows a classic “Catch-22” conflict intrinsic in Norway’s present gambling rules. The nation’s law has a ban on payment processing associated with unlicensed operators (those not licensed in Norway, instead of other European and world jurisdictions). These laws were made to protect the state-run gaming services, Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping.

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