June 23, 2023 3 min read

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Norway’s Culture Minister Faces Scrutiny Over Controversial Appointments

The Norsk Tipping appointments have raised concerns about favoritism and unfair bias

Norway’s culture minister Anette Trettebergstuen is facing scrutiny over her recent appointments of former colleagues to board positions at Norsk Tipping, a state-owned gambling company. 

Controversial Appointments and Allegations of Favoritism Surround Norway’s Culture Minister

One of the appointees, Thomas Breen, was made a member of the board in April 2022, while Sylvia Brustad was appointed as the board’s chairperson in April 2023. It has been revealed that all three individuals had previously worked together in the Norwegian constituency of Hedmark Ap, with Trettebergstuen serving as the deputy leader. During their time together, Breen had served as Trettebergstuen’s deputy on the board, reported Norwegian media outlet Nettavisen.

In addition to these appointments, Trettebergstuen also gave a former colleague from Hedmark Ap a role as deputy chairman of the board at the Norwegian Rikstoto, a national horse racing organization. These appointments have sparked further criticism, as Trettebergstuen has not granted similar positions in the gaming industry to individuals from other parties.

The nature of Trettebergstuen’s relationship with Breen has come under scrutiny, leading to a competency assessment. The Ministry of Culture, however, has responded to allegations of favoritism by stating that the relationship between Trettebergstuen and Breen did not meet the criteria for a close personal relationship. The ministry emphasized that their interactions were primarily professional and political in nature.

Thomas Breen stated in an interview with Nettavisen that he did not have any prior dialogue with Trettebergstuen before his appointment, and he did not consider his relationship with her when he was proposed for the position. He mentioned that his communication was with a bureaucrat in the department in a normal manner, similar to his appointment to a university board under the previous government. He did not perceive any difference in the process.

Calls for Transparency and Equal Opportunities Amidst Trettebergstuen’s Appointment Controversy

Regarding Trettebergstuen’s relationship with Brustad, no significant concerns have been raised, and no competency assessment has been conducted.

Critics argue that these appointments raise questions about transparency and fair selection processes within the government. They emphasize the importance of adhering to existing rules and regulations to avoid any doubts about the existence of undue favoritism or nepotism.

The controversy surrounding Trettebergstuen’s appointments highlights the need for accountability and transparency in the political appointment process. As the public demands fairness and equal opportunities, it is crucial for government officials to ensure that their actions are guided by integrity and the best interests of the nation.

In other news, Norwegian gambling operator Norsk Tipping implemented a new policy to limit losses for players aged 20 and under to a maximum of NOK 2,000 ($181), citing higher vulnerability and gambling issues among younger customers. 

According to a recent survey, Norway has successfully reduced the number of problem gamblers from 55,000 in 2019 to 23,000, thanks to safer gambling initiatives, measures against the black market, and restrictions on gambling advertisements.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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