Norway passes payment law

Posted by Gerry Poltorak on Feb 25, 2010 Posted in Legal Poker News | No Comments »

The government of Norway has taken a controversial step by creating a new law that essentially makes processing payments for online operators based outside of Norway a crime.

The law requires payment processors to verify that payments in relation to Norway can only be processed for valid operations licensed in Norway. Before the law was made official, there were protests stating the law does not conform with European Union regulations which state that member nations do not require domestic licensing if another member has already licensed the operator.

Whilst Norway is not part of the European Union, it does come under the European Economic Area which means it must abide by internal market regulations. This has not stopped Norway from creating the law as it has been granted royal assent, which means the law is now real and will come into affect on June 1, 2010, ironically the same day the UIGEA comes into force in the United States of America.

Whilst the UIGEA has caused uproar, this law is not expected to have much of an impact with many Norwegian financial institutions saying they will ignore the attempts to require them to police all online transactions. However, it remains to be seen if the government can actually force the hand of the banks and payment processors.

Norway has produced a long line of brilliant multi table tournament poker specialists in recent years including Oyvind Riisem, Johnny Lodden, Dag Martin Mikkelsen and the most famous of them all, Annette Obrestad.

Obrestad was already a well respected online pro when she burst onto the live scene back in 2007. She paid £10,000 to enter the inaugural World Series of Poker Europe Main Event and she won the entire tournament worth a cool £1,000,000. Aged just 18, she became the youngest-ever WSOP bracelet winner and the youngest Main Event winner in history. Whether or not the law will prevent any of these young stars from taking to the felt remains to be seen but I would seriously doubt that anything would stop them from playing online poker in the near or distant future.

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