Posted 2/20/11 : Press reports that ISP blocking is now a possibility
The Norwegian media, led initially by the newspaper Dagbladet, is reporting that Culture Minister Anniken Huitfeldt is actively considering ISP filtering to block foreign internet gambling operators.
The report comes amid news that increasing numbers of Norwegians leave money on foreign gambling sites and gamble online despite legislative moves since July 2010 to block financial transactions with offshore gambling sites.
The reports note that Norwegians are back gambling online in numbers as big as before the financial measures were imposed. A survey attributed to the Norsk Tipping state gambling monopoly claims that 4 percent of Norwegians over the age of 18 are currently gambling at foreign sites.
The audit has apparently been forwarded to the Culture Minister, who is quoted as saying that the government continues to oppose unregulated online gambling.
"We want to consider using filtering IP addresses against gambling companies that are undesirable in Norway,” she said. “Such measures have been successfully used in Italy, Estonia and France, and the concept has found favour in Denmark,” Huitfeldt added.
The liberal publication Liberalen opined in an article that it was impossible for politicians to shut out citizens from foreign gambling sites, and that introducing ISP filters amounted to internet censorship.
“The proposal breaks completely with the liberal values that should be bipartisan consensus in Norway,” the editorial concluded. Liberal leader Ove Vanebo attacked the idea, saying that similar moves in Thailand had not been successful.