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Norway’s Lotteritilsynet to fine affiliate SEO-Butler for promoting illegal gambling

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Norwegian regulator Lotteritilsynet is set to fine affiliate site owner SEO-Butler for promoting illegal gambling websites despite repeated warnings.

The regulator first presented SEO-Butler with an order to stop marketing of illegal gambling websites on its sites on 7 December, 2020.

It then warned on 22 March of this year that if SEO-Butler did not stop promoting these sites, it would be fined.

In response, SEO-Butler issued a letter saying its sites were blocked for users with Norwegian IP addresses.

However, reviews between 19 April and 3 May showed that while many sites were blocked, four sites had dot.no domains and were available to view. SEO-Butler continued to promote illegal gambling on these sites.

The sites in question were Tjenpengeronline.no, Fotballreisetips.no, Finnstilling.no and Startsidendin.no.

As a result, Lotteritilsynet opted to issue a fine.

“SEO-Butler has on a number of occasions been made aware of breaches of the marketing and dissemination ban,” the regulator said. “Lotteritilsynet takes a serious view of repeated breaches of the regulations, especially after the actor is made aware of which specific cases are considered to be breaches of the rules.

“Furthermore, SEO-Butler has in several cases given the impression that it has complied with the orders to stop its illegal business.”

In determining the size of the fine, the regulator noted that, according to the Norwegian Lotteries Act 1998-99, such a fine should be “so large that it eliminates the benefits the offender may have by continuing the illegal activity,” but “at the same time should not be unreasonably high.”

It ultimately decided to issue a fine of NOK2,000 per day, starting from 25 May, up to a maximum of NOK200,000.

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