YouTube to block Norwegian videos; BetTube offers wagers on viral videos

norway-youtube-bettubeNorway has convinced online video repository YouTube to block videos promoting online gambling services to Norwegian punters. The Norwegian Gaming Board (NGB) has long complained about all this infernal 21st century technology spoiling its best laid plans to restrict its countrymen’s wagering options to state monopolies Norsk Tipping (gambling) and Norsk Rikstoto (horseracing). The NGB notified YouTube of 122 specific videos by international online gambling companies, some using the Norwegian language, which the NGB said violated YouTube requirements for videos to comply with local statutes.

The NGB’s move was likely initiated well before Norway’s government underwent a leadership change in October. The new governing coalition of the Conservative and Progress parties has promised to liberalize Norway’s gambling market, including opening up online access to international operators, albeit under tight restrictions on hours of operation and limits on the amount players can lose per day and month. The country has attempted to block financial transactions to/from international operators for years with little success.

None of those banned Norwegian videos are likely to win any money for users of new online wagering site BetTube. The Munich-based company, which launched its beta site on Wednesday, offers users the ability to wager on the likelihood of new YouTube videos going ‘viral.’ The site lists a top-10 ‘most-viewed’ chart of YouTube videos, and if a user’s pick makes it onto the chart within 12 hours of placing their wager, then cha-ching. Players can wager on any video on which another user has wagered, with higher payoffs for videos with fewer views at the time of wagering. Players can only wager on a video with less than 1m current views.

At present, the wagering is limited to play-money only, but founder Clemens Ley told VentureBeat he’s “working hard” to institute a real-money option. “I have gotten some legal advice and I think there is a chance that I will succeed.” Ley is also developing real-money games “similar to BetTube” but acknowledges that this is “legally very challenging,” so he’s unable to offer a timeframe for when these new games might appear. Like Betable CEO Chris Griffin, Ley is unimpressed by the lack of innovation plaguing the online gambling industry and says BetTube’s aim was to “channel the energy that people put into gambling into something productive.” Productive? You mean like badgering your friends into viewing Chris Crocker bellow “leave Britney alone” so you can get paid?