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Norway to crack down on unlicensed market as government submits Gambling Act

| By Nosa Omoigui
The Norwegian government has promised stricter sanctions towards unlicenced operators - and affiliates promoting them - as it presented a new Gambling Act.
Norway promises tougher sanctions to unlicenced operators with new gambling law

The new legislation unifies the country’s previous Lottery Act, Gambling Act and Totalisator Act while maintaining the market monopoly shared by Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto by ‘strengthening the exclusive rights model’.

This will be achieved, in part, by allowing the imposition of fines to any other operators who attempt to offer gambling in Norway.

The new gambling law was first proposed in June 2020, before the government notified the European Commission of the proposal in August of the same year.

Minister of culture and gender equality Abid Raja said the law would specifically crack down on operators who are not permitted to offer gambling in Norway.

“I am pleased to finally be able to present the new gambling law, which is a milestone in the government’s work to prevent gambling problems and ensure responsible gambling.

“We are tired of foreign gambling companies that do not respect Norwegian law, and that do not operate with proper accountability measures. Therefore, the new law provides the Norwegian Lotteries Authority with new tools for detecting, reacting to and sanctioning violations of the law.” 

Under the new law – which was criticised by sections of the Norwegian gaming industry when first proposed for continuing the monopoly system – marketing gambling without a Norwegian licence is prohibited. The government said that this would apply not only to operators, but also to those who “pass on” customers, such as affiliates.

“Violation of the ban can result in punishment,” the government said.

Furthermore, marketing gambling to children will be a criminal offence, and there is a blanket ban on gambling with credit cards so as to promote responsible gambling habits.

Any operators are also obliged to introduce accountability measures, and any marketing to self-excluded gamblers will be a criminal offence. Marketing must also “not go beyond what is necessary to attract players to the legal gaming offers”.

Raja added: “Things are happening in the gambling field in Norway. The government has worked consciously for many years with gambling policy and this is yielding results. 

“Foreign gambling companies and their payment intermediaries are withdrawing from the Norwegian market, their turnover is declining and advertising is no longer as easy to reach.” 

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