Norway plans to introduce DNS blocking, barring offshore gambling sites from offering their products to local customers. This measure has been talked about for more than a decade and may finally become a reality.
The proposal is backed by the current minister of culture, Anette Trettebergstuen, who hopes to ban offshore sites from 2024. Unlike her predecessors who rejected the idea of DNS blocking, Trettebergstuen believes that the measure would make it very hard for companies to reach local audiences.
The DNS blocking, many believe, will protect Norsk Tipping, Norway’s gambling monopoly, from foreign competition. The new law will be proposed this fall and if approved, may come into power on January 1, 2024.
Under the new rules, the Norwegian Gambling Authority will be responsible for the implementation of the ban. The regulator will have the power to ask internet service providers (ISPs) to block certain websites and gambling companies from accessing Norway.
The Battle Isn’t Going to Be Easy
The measure goes against earlier projections that Norway would eventually introduce a licensing model like Sweden and Denmark. In fact, only The Progress Party (FRP) seems to be supporting this idea currently.
FRP member Silje Hjemdal addressed the matter, sharing her skepticism about the DNS blocking. According to her and other critics, the measure might not have the expected effect. In addition, opponents believe that blocking such sites is censorship that infringes on customers’ privacy.
While the Conservative Party is against the introduction of a licensing regime, it will likely oppose the current proposal. While the measure seems similar to the one proposed by the conservatives in 2021, the party currently claims that blocking would be inefficient because of how simple it is to circumvent it.
The DNS blocking proposal has been in limbo for a while, without significant progress being made. When the measure was out for consultation in the fall of 2021, it attracted strong opinions from both gamblers and operators.
The Norwegian government emphasized that not all offshore websites will be blocked but rather a number of brands deemed to be dangerous. However, it is likely that the DNS blocking might also lead to legal battles between the Norwegian government and gambling operators.
Betsson, for example, has previously slammed the efforts to introduce DNS blocking as a measure that breaches the EEA agreement. Trettebergstuen said that she is aware that any measure that limits the gambling juggernauts’ reach will be met with resistance. However, she vowed to not give up.