The Remote Gaming Association, a UK trade body which numbers most of the major online gambling groups among its members, has revealed that it has lodged a formal complaint with the European Surveillance Agency on the proposed Norwegian legislation aimed at creating a Nordic UIGEA.

Clive Hawkswood, CEO of the RGA said that the legislation, passed last week in the Norwegian Storting (parliament) makes it an offence to aid and abet any operator that is not part of the state gambling monopoly Norske Tipping, and seeks to stop financial transactions with online gambling sites.

Earlier reports suggest that, like the UIGEA, the enforcement burden is laid on financial institutions, which have repeatedly protested against the proposal.

During the process of determining how the law can be properly implemented, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) will be given a chance to comment on it, Hawkswood revealed. "Implementation would then require a decree to adopt formally whatever regulatory protocol is required," he said. Because the ESA has influence on EFTA, this was a sound avenue through which to complain.

"Not only is the Norwegian action in breach of its [EFTA] treaty obligations, but financial transaction blocking is largely ineffective," Hawkswood said. He also pointed out that national elections in Norway are scheduled for next September, which could delay full implementation, or even lead to the overturn of the measure at the hands of a new government.

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