Norsk Bransjeforening for Onlinespill (NBO), which represents Norway’s online gambling firms, has called for the government to rethink proposed rules for the country’s gambling sector.
The NBO have issued their official response to the proposals for the unification of the existing Lottery Act, Gambling Act and Totalisator Act, which would also maintain Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto’s monopolies in the market, claiming that the plans would result in poor standards of protection and value for customers who bet online.
In its submission as part of the consultation for the new proposals, the NBO said that only around 50% of Norwegian gamblers are using licensed operators, which has played a part in the number of problem gambling cases doubling in the three years after 2013.
NBO has advocated a form of licensing for private online gambling companies, and a tax rate of 15% which they saw would encourage most Norwegian gamblers to use regulated sites and would also generate substantial extra tax revenues. Their position is that licences should be available to companies which can show they meet a variety of criteria particularly related to responsible gaming, while they also support the introduction of a self-exclusion tool for all operators. In addition, NBO say that all firms should be able to identify the source of customer funds.
Speaking about their proposals, the Secretary General of the NBO, Carl Fredrik Stenstrom, said that such measures would produce a stronger and safer gambling sector:
“Through such a re-regulated licensing model, the Norwegian authorities will ensure a much higher degree of channelling for gambling in Norway. This in turn will provide far better protection for vulnerable players and generate increased government revenue.”
The NBO pointed to the apparent successes in neighbouring Denmark and Sweden after both countries opened their gambling markets to private operators.
The organisation has also criticised the ban on television adverts featuring overseas gambling operators, which they say simply leads to adverts being placed on digital channels which offer less oversight. They claim that the marketing spend in Sweden actually decreased since the country introduced its open market for gambling firms.
The consultation process for the new Gambling Act launched in June, and the draft of the proposals was sent to the European Commission in August. The new law would subject the monopoly gambling operators to strict public control and a range of responsible gambling measures. At the same time, the current ban on payment transfer for deposits or winnings associated with gambling offered by unlicensed operators will remain in place.