The recent tidal wave of regulatory action towards gambling advertisements on TV has reached Norway, where the government has proposed legislative changes to prohibit overseas operators from advertising on TV channels in the country.
Legislation Insufficient So Far
Gambling companies based outside of Norway have been using a loophole in the Norwegian legislation to promote gambling activities on TV for years, but this door seems to be closing fast, as the government in the Scandinavian country has tabled amendments to the Broadcasting Act to delegate more power to the Norwegian Media Authority over TV distributors in terms of preventing access to illegal marketing.
The sensitivity of the matter has been recognized long time ago, with discussions on how to prevent unlicensed operators from having access to the advertising market underway since 2017, and the gambling regulator in the country, Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet /Lottstift/ launching a broad consultation in April 2018, but as the government admits, imposing a ban on such activities is not viable as the reality is there is a loophole in the legislation that allows advertising coming from foreign locations.
Gambling Effects On Children
The Norwegian Media Authority is an agency tasked with “raising awareness on children’s use of digital media and computer games, rules for radio and television broadcasts and age limits for cinema films and the registration of videograms” and by giving it more power to order TV stations, the government in Norway is showing its resolve to deal with the negative social effects of gaming in the society, such as social impairing skills.
State Operators Support Various Initiatives
The recent move by the government is obviously embraced by the gambling operators in the country that are legally allowed to advertise, currently only two state-owned entities, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, can offer and advertise their products, with the former presenting draw-based and casino-type games, and the latter dealing with games of chance, such as totalisator games.
Both companies allocate funds from their revenue to support financially socially beneficial purposes, humanitarian work, sports, healthcare, research and cultural initiatives, with the amount of money generated in 2018 in the vicinity of NOK5.5 billion.
Advertising Spending From Offshore Operators Down
In October 2019 Lottstift reported that gambling-related advertising coming from off shore gaming operators fell by 19% year-on-year, due to the actions undertaken, but obviously the result is far from satisfactory and pressure from the society requires for more drastic action including a total ban on this type of advertising.
Ban On Payments Amended
As part of the ongoing effort to help protect vulnerable groups in the society that are mostly affected by gambling advertisements from overseas operators, Norway implemented amendments to the existing ban on payments towards offshore gaming companies, as they used to easily circumvent the ban by using intermediaries.
New rules gave banks the right to block transactions based on company names and related to certain account numbers and investigate all parties involved and came into force January 1, 2020.