EGBA files complaint against the Lottery Authority
(Press Release) EGBA files complaint against the Norwegian Lottery Authority to the Data Inspectorate
In a recent complaint, the Norwegian Data Inspectorate is asked to review the Norwegian regulation of blocking payment to and from foreign gaming companies as soon as possible. The European Gaming and Betting Association – EGBA – believes the Lottery Authority is acting in violation of privacy legislation, and delivered a formal complaint this week regarding illegal collection and processing of sensitive personal information.
The Norwegian rules on blocking of payments have been in force since 2010 and, in principle, block the possibility of betting and bets being placed online with a player who does not have a Norwegian license. According to the Lottery Authority’s own analysis, this blocking is not effective. The Lottery Authority in March 2017 nonetheless introduced a provision directed at Norwegian banks where they are ordered to block transactions to and from seven identified account numbers.
-The method The Lottery Authority has used to acquire these account numbers is in breach of Norwegian citizens’ privacy laws, including citizens who have no financial relationship with online gaming providers. The Lottery Authority looks inter alia to have gained information from a database containing data about Norwegian citizens (the Foreign Exchange Register), which the Norwegian Lottery Authority has no right to access, says Maarten Haijer, General Secretary of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).
Illegally accessing data
-In order to access this information, the Lottery Authority must scan and access login details for Norwegian citizens who do not necessarily have online gaming relationships – and this violates Norwegian citizens’ privacy as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, says Haaijer.
-Privacy on the Internet, and the right to privacy in general, are a major concern for all Norwegian and European citizens, and rightly so. As our information increasly goes through the internet, we must be able to ensure that our online data is secure. The privacy requirements for businesses are strict, and it is expected and required by law that private companies comply with these rules, but the laws also require the same from public institutions such as the Norwegian Lottery Authority. Norwegian law is a careful balance between individuals ‘right to privacy, and public authorities’ need for access to data in certain specific circumstances. The Lottery Authority must obviously comply with Norwegian laws, regardless of whether they wish to support a regulation that they themselves considers to be ineffective, he says.
– The underlying problem is that current Norwegian laws regarding online games do not fit into today’s digital reality. Instead of focusing on keeping the monopoly model with increasingly repressive – and ineffective – instruments, regulation should focus on the actual needs of Norwegian consumers and offer a safe and competitive offer that allows consumers to play online in a safe way and highly regulated environment based on Norwegian law, says Maarten Haijer.
© EGBA / Norway Today