Norway Gets Apple to Kick Out Gambling Operators from App Store

Apple has agreed to remove unlicensed gambling apps from its App Store upon the request of Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA).

Back in May, the NGA wrote to Apple with an attempt to convince the tech giant to get rid of online gambling apps available on the App Store in Norway so as to comply with national gambling regulation. The NGA suggested that according to App Store guidelines, gambling apps from operators without authorised licenses should be banned.

38 unlicensed gambling apps are blocked in total, including The Netherlands, LeoVegas, Mr Green, Betsson, Unibet and Norway’s Automation. NGA senior advisor Frank Hoff Hana praised Apple’s decision, commenting that the move would pose a positive impact in tackling illegal gaming offers Norwegians were exposed to.

Protecting Norwegians from Gambling Addiction

According to Hana, the purpose of prohibiting unlicensed gambling operators from providing gambling services in Norway is to prevent Norwegian consumers from developing gambling problems. “Gambling addiction is serious and do often cause people to lose more money than they can afford to lose. The Norwegian Gaming Authority works to prevent gambling addiction and their negative consequences, such as financial and social problems,” said Hana.

But Will it Really Work?

Nevertheless, gambling operators are unsure whether the removal of gambling apps will effectively eliminate illegal and unhealthy gambling in Norway. Morten Klein, Chairperson of Cherry AB, claimed that the prohibition would only encourage problem gambling and create an unhelpful illusion for Norwegian politicians and organisations who were striving to resolve gambling addiction.

Klein added that the Norwegian government should follow the footsteps of Denmark and Sweden, introducing a re-regulation of the gambling market, rather than banning the gambling apps. Sweden has just began its licensing process for online gambling operators on 1st August 2018.

“The Lottery Authority should also look at how to regulate the gaming market. For 18 years, there have been games online, and there have become more problem players,” said Klein. The Cherry AB Chair therefore believed that a regulation must be implemented, especially when it’s fully legal for Norwegians to play on gambling sites based in other EU countries.