The two Scandinavian countries that have state-owned online gambling monopolies are Norway and Sweden. According to local press, both nations are facing problems of varying nature. In Norway, it has been reported that 4 percent of the gaming population over 18 years of age gamble at foreign websites. On the other hand, Sweden has reported a decline in the net revenues from online gambling for the second straight year.
In July 2010, Norwegian legislature placed a block on financial free e-wallet slot transactions to and from foreign gaming sites. The Culture Minister Anniken Huitfeldt has publicly stated that tougher measures will be developed to punish those engaging in unregulated online gambling.
The proposal for ISP filtering is not popular among the liberal political segment and the media. Ove Vanebo, a liberal leader, opposes the idea stating that citizens cannot be shut out of overseas gambling sites by politicians. The publication, Liberalen, indicated that such an act is Internet censorship which breaks the bipartisan consensus in Norway.
In Sweden, the acting CEO of the online and land best online casino malaysia gambling monopoly confirms the decline in gaming revenue is a result of the measures implemented to alleviate problem gambling in the country. The processes to curb problem gambling essentially limit the amount of gaming in Sweden. The CEO has suggested that in order to remain competitive, a broader range of games should be offered at casinos which would bring new licenses for new games in demand.
Some of these measures enacted by Sweden in 2010 include:
- Responsible gaming awareness and education
- The acquisition of responsible gaming company Playscan AB
- Imposing an age limit of 18 to purchase lottery tickets
However, it is clear these same measures used to help those with a gambling addiction or who are developing a problem is decreasing the amount of gaming revenue earned by the country. Sweden is in the midst of finding the correct balance between expanding revenues from online and land-based gaming and enacting measures to help those with gambling problems.
To limit the access of foreign online gambling sites, Norway must find a creative way to please all parties. Unfortunately this is typically a difficult task. The measures enforced by Sweden to minimize problem gaming are doing exactly that, decreasing the number of players at online and land-based casinos. However it is performing a necessary function. Both countries need to find the same balance other European nations have between the government and their players.