News Norway Applies to European Union over Gambling Act

Norway Applies to European Union over Gambling Act

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The European Commission is set to scrutinise Norway’s revised gambling legislation, after the Norwegian government notified the EU of the changes.

The new legislation is aimed at unifying the Norwegian Lottery Act with the country’s Gambling Act and Totalisator Act, while at the same time maintaining the monopolies of Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. The notification comes alongside the ongoing consultation period launched by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture that finished in June.

That consultation is set to run through to September 29, while the notification to the EU last week means that the new legislation will be subject to a standstill period that lasts until November 13.

According to Norway’s government, the legislation is aimed at preventing gambling problems and other significant negative consequences associated with gambling, and to make sure that all gambling in the country takes place in a responsible way, in line with the country’s objectives:

“The act will harmonise the legislation applicable to the gambling sector in Norway, and will provide a more coherent and systematic approach to risk assessment, enforcement and sanctions applicable to the sector.”

Currently, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto both hold monopolies in Norway, with the sole rights to offer gambling games that give a high turnover, high prizes or provide the biggest risk of gambling harm. Under the revised rules, these operators would be subject to significant controls and required to abide by regulations licences, including having responsible gambling measures in place.

Non-profit organisations could also have the opportunity to offer gambling games that come into the category of low turnover and small prizes. An existing ban that applies to payment transfer for deposits or winnings from operators who are operating without a permit in Norway would remain, along with the provision for a percentage of profits from legal games to go to non-profit organisations.

The legislation also has proposes changes for marketing. The promotion of legal games would be made legal on a limited basis, but operators will be required to ensure that advertisements are presented to the public in a safe way, and advertising cannot be aimed at vulnerable people.

The Norwegian regulator Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet) will also gain the power to enforce betting industry sanctions including fines or suspensions in cases of a breach of licence conditions. Lotteritilsynet would also be able to ask Norwegian internet companies to put warning messages on websites that illegally target players in Norway. There is also scope for further regulations to be added once the basic Act has been passed.

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