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Norway to close gambling TV advertising
Illegal gambling operators have been using a long-standing loophole in the Norwegian advertising laws to continue running their advertisements on Norwegian television. Norway is now preparing to introduce amendments relating to gambling products not licensed to operate in Norway. However, many of the TV stations that run these advertisements also broadcast from outside the country.

These amendments to the Broadcasting Act are set to give the Norwegian Media Authority more powers to ensure that Norwegian audiences will no longer be exposed to advertising from these unauthorised gambling operators through local internet providers or television distributors.

Gambling associated issues are one of the major concerns of the Norwegian government, and that is why the Scandinavian nation is one of the few in Europe to maintain a monopoly model. This means that only the licensed and state-run gambling operators such as Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, can advertise on national television.

Online gambling portals such as provide multiple services to players on the internet, such as guides, how to use responsible gaming tools effectively and help consumers avoid rogue casinos - i.e. non-licensed brands.

Norsk Tipping does not market any of its casino games on television at all, and it supports the moves launched last year by Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet, the Norwegian gambling operator. The Norwegian state gambling operator reported a sharp rise of risk and problem players accessing online games, something that advertising encourages.

Since early 2018, Lottstift has been in consultation about how the existing loopholes can be closed. However, how to effectively stop these gambling companies has been a concern among various parties in the industry since 2017.

Rules are essential in order to protect those with gambling problems

The new restrictions imposed on local banks and other financial institutions since January 2020 are meant to regulate payments and receipts from offshore gambling companies.

Each institution was notified by Lottstift in writing to ensure that no gambling-related transactions are processed if they are not from an authorised company.

Furthermore, the banks are required to investigate these types of transactions, and their findings must be reported to the Norwegian gambling regulator. Banks known to facilitate these types of transactions for offshore gambling operators and their payment processors have been asked to submit detailed reports about their role in these transactions.

Broadcasting revenues have dropped

Already in 2019, advertising spending decreased by 19% from these unauthorised online gambling operators according to a report released in October by the Gambling regulator. The value of this decrease is approximately NOK631 million.

It was estimated in a separate report by Oslo Economics in August 2019, that the annual advertising revenue of broadcasters could drop a further NOK500 million when the stricter rules to come into force. Discovery Networks Norway (DNN) and Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) are the biggest earners from foreign gambling advertising each year with an income of NOK500 million from these companies.

By dropping this advertising, they will be forced to lower their prices on these ad slots, which could lead to a further loss of income for them of anything between NOK 250 to NOK500 million annually.

Furthermore, the repercussions of less income entail less spending on new productions and content, which will result in a decrease of viewership figures. Unfortunately, this would also decrease their ability to have the rights to some major sporting events. The country’s media industry will be negatively impacted if DNN and NENT lowered their spending on locally-based content production.

In addition, other broadcasters who do not show these ads are then given an unfair advantage and would strengthen their competitiveness because their revenue will remain the same. Oslo Economics named TV2 as one such example.

Initiatives with results

Of utmost importance to the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Gender Equality is that precedence is given to those with gambling problems and their relatives.

Both the previous Minister Trine Skei Grande and the current Minister Abid Q. Raja feel that financial consequences are not as important and that the media should not only rely on advertising to fund their content and productions.

The Ministry of Culture’s initiatives are to remain committed to the Norwegian media, but most importantly, they need to regulate online gambling in order to protect the Scandinavian nation’s population from gambling-associated issues.

Both state-owned gambling entities, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto are committed to allocating funds toward various social efforts that include humanitarian work, healthcare, research, and cultural initiatives.

It is imperative that the negative social effects of gambling on society are minimised, and reducing TV advertising is a critical measure to reaching the goal. Here’s a list of all the licensed online casinos.

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