Norway may nix online poker

Analysts from the Gaming Intelligence Group are saying the Norwegian culture minister, Trond Giske, is pondering banning online poker with legislation similar to the U.S. Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

It's an ironic twist that just weeks after online sensation and resident Norwegian Annette Obrestad won the biggest tournament in European history, the government is talking about banning the online rooms where Annette15 earned her poker chops.

Giske has repeatedly made it clear that he is an opponent of online gambling and frequently cites its risks for problem gamblers. In 2006 Gisk worked hard to ban all slot machines. As a result all the slot machines in Norway are now government-run and less "aggressive" than their predecessors.

It is unknown exactly what the law would constitute but Gisk was quoted as saying it would work along the lines of the United States' UIGEA.

It is also unclear, if the law was passed, what effect it would have on Norwegian poker players. Any player with a Norwegian IP address could potentially be denied access to the major online poker rooms.

Under Norwegian law the act of online gambling is already illegal. It is assumed the new legislation would enforce the existing law by banning transactions between banks and online gambling accounts.

The new law could come into effect as soon as next spring.

The issue is further complicated because, while Norway is not a full member of the European Union, it is part of the EU's market, given that it is located in the European Economic Area. If Norway was to utilize a UIGEA-style law against gambling sites that were located in EU areas like the U.K. and the Isle of Man, it would likely face some strong opposition.


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