Norway seems to be willing to keep gambling monopolies and is even moving towards isolation by making an announcement about new legislation. Under the provisions of the new law, local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would be required to suspend all online gambling websites using DNS (Domain Name System) blocking.
As part of the proposed piece of legislation, Norwegian ISPs would have to make sure they implement technical measures aimed at preventing local users from reaching certain websites through international DNS protocols. The announced amendment was unveiled after a period of more than two years since the country’s authorities started discussions on the chance of DNS blocking for unlicensed online platforms.
The country’s Minister of Culture and Equality Lubna Jaffery explained that the move has been initiated because digital gambling operators’ services had to be blocked by DNS. She said that if such platforms were in line with Norwegian law, it would not be necessary to get Internet Service Providers involved.
Norwegian lawmakers have shared that the proposed legislation specifies that in case a user makes an attempt to access a restricted platform, they will be redirected to a designated landing page providing additional information on the denied access. The legislative changes have been unveiled as part of reforms to the country’s Gambling Act and were officially proposed by the Ministry of Culture and Equality on October 20th. The Government then approved the suggested modification on the same day.
Norwegian Government Trying to Keep Unlicensed Gambling Operators Out of the Country
The recent action of the Norwegian lawmakers is aimed at operators that are still targeting the country’s online gambling market.
After years of providing local residents with its services and trying to fight the Government, in June 2023 Kindred Group plc made a decision to exit the country and finalized the move a few months later, in September.
The recently unveiled measure to keep unlicensed gambling companies out of the country is not surprising. Norway’s competent authorities renewed the monopoly of Norsk Rikstoto less than a year ago, extending it for another decade. Unfortunately, the decision is also considered a problematic one because some studies have shown that gambling monopolies are unable to provide adequate customer protection.
Now, the local Government is moving forward by looking for DNS blockers’ protection in order to retain the country’s gambling monopoly. However, there are no guarantees lawmakers would be successful in doing so.
For the time being, DNS servers are an important component of each country’s Internet infrastructure, because they act as translators between the numeric IP addresses linked to web servers and user-friendly domain names. When a user enters a certain domain name into their browser, that name is resolved into the corresponding Internet Protocol address by the DNS server.
By changing the DNS settings of certain devices and using some alternative servers instead of the default DNS Internet Service Providers, users are able to sometimes circumvent the restrictions imposed by the ISP. So-called VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are another way to effectively circumvent DNS blocks.