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Apple Scraps Gambling Apps from Norway App Store

14th August 2018 – Apple is known for being strict with which apps reach the App Store, with plenty of otherwise high-quality apps being given the boot. The latest target in the eyes of Apple bosses are gambling apps, with 38 being controversially removed from the Norwegian App Store. The reason behind the removals stems from the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) exerting pressure on the now trillion-dollar tech company.

In what will be a massive blow to the gambling landscape in Norway, apps from some of the best UK casino sites including ComeOn, Betsson, Unibet, NordicBet, and Coolbet have all been pulled. Yet, several casino and poker apps from non-Norwegian operators are still up, so if users move fast enough they can still download them. The entire reason for this widespread wipeout of gambling apps is that the NGA has been pressuring Apple through written requests to deny Norwegian players access to operators that don’t have an NGA license. By all accounts, the requests started in May, with Apple only now making the decision to pull the plug on various related apps.

Frank Hoff Hana (NGA Senior Consultant) explained the NGA’s actions in a recent interview when he said, “We made Apple aware of the Norwegian regulations and encouraged Apple to investigate whether the current apps were in violation of their own guidelines. On June 22, we received a letter from Apple where we were asked to confirm that these gaming companies do not have licenses in Norway. As such, Apple is following its own regulatory framework, but we are obviously satisfied that they have met our request.”

The NGA has been drawing a strict line with operators that continue to target Norwegian players without an appropriate license. The letter sent to Apple represents one of a number of measures that the NGA is moving forward with in an attempt to eradicate the problem. The NGS has also moved to block DNS addresses of illegal foreign operators, while also prohibiting transactions made via third parties by gambling companies. The message coming out of the NGA is that they are now trying to halt foreign operators at the source, by cutting off its ability to reach players.

As expected, these new measures have been deemed highly controversial in the eyes of operators, with some being very vocal in opposition. Even the European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA) has raised questions about the NGA’s decision. Kingdred and Betsson have seemingly laughed off the NGA’s latest move, as they feel it’s a measure put in place to directly monopolize Norway’s gambling landscape. Currently, only Norks Rikstoto and Norks Tipping have operating licenses in the country, with new restrictions seemingly making sure that it stays that way.

The entire purpose of the new measures that the NGA are implementing is to quell the rise of foreign gambling operators in Norway. This is all building up to an expected de facto ban on all non-Norwegian online gambling offerings by early 2019.