Norway grants full DNS blocking powers to Lottstift

  • Lottstift, Norway’s Gambling Authority, has been granted ‘direct powers’ to order DNS and IP blocking of websites infringing on the laws of Norway’s Gambling Act.

The mandate was approved by the Storting (Parliament) on March 19, as a majority of MPs backed market protections sought by Lottstift against unlicensed operators.

The approval sees Lottstift secure DNS and IP blocking rights as a guaranteed measure to protect Norway’s Gambling Act, currently under revision.

In 2022, the Storting ordered the government to consolidate Norway’s fragmented regulatory framework for gambling. Laws for gambling had been deemed inconsistent due to the market being governed by the three separate mandates of the 1995 Lottery Act, the 1992 Gambling Act, and the 1927 Totalisator Act.

As such, the Storting instructed Norwegian authorities to adopt a new Gambling Act, merging and amending the laws of the three preceding Acts – a regulatory project overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Equality.

As declared by the Storting: “A majority has passed amendments to the Gambling Act which, among other things, give the Norwegian Lottery Authority permission to order internet providers to carry out DNS blocking of websites offering gambling without a permit in Norway.”

The amendment stipulates that Lottstift must work with Norway’s Data Protection Authority on DNS and IP blocking enforcements to ensure “concerns relating to privacy and freedom of information are given particular weight and reflected in the final regulations.”

The Gambling Act maintains that Norwegian gambling is exclusively held by the state-owned monopolies of Norsk Tipping for sports betting, online gambling, and lotteries, and Rikstoto for pari-mutuel horseracing.

2023 was marked as a defining year for Lottstift as it secured unequivocal rights to issue cease-and-desist orders to remote operators.

The decision saw Betsson AB, Bet365, and ComeOn withdraw from the market, while Kindred Group announced a scaling down of its brands operating in Norway.

Remote operators had challenged Lottstift’s authority and Norway’s online gambling laws as inconsistent with the competition rules of the European Economic Area (EEA).”