The Norwegian gambling sector is set to face a significant crackdown in the New Year due to new guidelines that will severely restrict the sector’s ability to advertise.
From January 1, the Norwegian Media Authority will be able to stop TV advertising from overseas gambling companies, and from the same date, the Norwegian Ministry of Culture will also tighten the guidelines on advertising for the country’s legal operators Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, which will limit their advertising to that considered necessary to channel consumers away from unlicensed overseas operators and towards the two state-owned bookmakers.
The new guidelines will include a reduction in the Norsk Tipping’s ability to promote the money they give to good causes in their marketing, and will add new requirements for responsible marketing, with all gambling advertising required to include contact information for gambling help services.
The launch of the Norwegian Media Authority’s new rules that will prevent gambling advertising on television and the tightening of the guidelines for Norsk Tipping is part of the government’s preventive work to tackle problem gambling. The rules follow in the wake of the University of Bergen’s recent study that showed an increase in gambling problems in the country between 2015 and 2019 and found that gambling advertising was a significant factor.
Speaking about the issue, Abid Raja, the Minister of Culture, said that gambling problems were increasing in the Norwegian population and that the government was working on solutions:
“The possibility of stopping TV advertising from foreign gambling companies is an important measure in the work of preventing gambling problems. With less gambling advertising on TV, we can also tighten the guidelines for Norsk Tipping’s marketing.”
At the start of the month, Norsk Tipping brought in a series of temporary measures that will run throughout December and January and that are designed to reduce customer spending and playing time. The operator cut the maximum monthly loss limit for all high-risk games and increased the break that all customers have to take after playing for an hour.
At the time of that announcement, the Chief Executive of Norsk Tipping, Asne Havnelid, said that they were aware that these were their busiest betting months and that the additional factor of the Covid-19 measures meant that vulnerable players were more at risk.
In addition to the new rules on advertising, the Norwegian government has announced that it will be adding significant extra investment to problem gambling research and treatment. The announcement of new funding followed a call from the Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gaming (NBO) in October suggesting that there should be a rethink on the rules relating to the gambling sector as a response to new proposals for gambling legislation.
The NBO say that the bill, which would unify the various existing gambling Acts, while underlining the monopoly status of Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, offered poor standards of customer protection and value. NBO has advocated for a licensing model that would allow private operators to provide betting services, paying a tax rate of 15%.