Norway Looks to Streamline Gambling Laws, Monopoly Model to Remain

Norway is looking to unify its gambling laws into a single framework, while cementing Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto’s future as the only two entities that are allowed to conduct gambling activities on the territory of the Scandinavian nation, news emerged this week.

On Monday, the country’s Ministry of Culture submitted a proposal that, if approved, will merge Norway’s 1992 Gambling Act, 1995 Lottery Act and 1927 Totalisator Act into a set of measures that will aim to better regulate the local gambling market.

The proposal is endorsed by Norway’s Minster of Culture and Gender Equality Abid Raja, who said that their objective is to adopt a “more comprehensive perspective” on gambling policy and to “secure responsible gaming and to prevent gambling problems and other negative consequences.”

The Norwegian government has launched a consultation on the proposal. The consultation period will run through September 29. Various stakeholders have been invited to give their opinion on the matter.

As mentioned earlier, the proposal does not seek to change Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto’s position as Norway’s gambling monopolies. If approved, the measure aims to remove inefficiencies in the supervision of gambling. Gambling activities are currently supervised by three separate government entities, with those being the Ministry of Culture, the Lottery Committee, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

The proposed changes will see the Ministry of Culture assume all gambling supervision responsibilities. Both Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto will be subject to strict government control. The state will have the final say on important aspects of the two operators’ activities, including board appointments.

Proposal Gives More Power to Local Regulator

The Ministry of Culture’s proposal will provide Norway’s gambling regulator, Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet), with extended powers to oversee the sector and prevent unlicensed international companies from servicing local gamblers.

For instance, the regulator will be able to order local Internet service providers to inform users that when they see ads from offshore operators, these are operating illegally and they are not permitted to advertise in Norway.

The recently submitted proposal also seeks to tighten gambling advertising rules and prevent international operators from exploiting loopholes and promoting their products and services in Norway.

The country’s legislature, the Stortinget, approved in May a measure that banned offshore companies from advertising via the Internet. Lawmakers have also recently approved legislation that closed a long-standing loophole in Norway’s Broadcasting Act that enabled unlicensed gambling companies to advertise their products on Norwegian TV channels that broadcast from outside the country.

As part of the Ministry of Culture’s initiative, the government is also seeking input on loot boxes in video games, whether and when these constitute gambling, and if the planned new legislative framework would cover them.

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