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IBIA partnership with Norway signals end of monopoly

| By Robert Fletcher
The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and the Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gaming (NBO) have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on regulation and betting integrity.

The organisations will work to establish a framework for cooperation to promote a safe and effective licensing and regulatory regime. Both the IBIA and Norway-facing NBO will work on specific betting integrity provisions.

The partnership comes with both the IBIA and NBO urging Norway to withdraw its gambling monopoly system. At present, Norsk Tipping has rights to online casino gaming and sports betting, while Norsk Rikstoto covers horse racing

However, Norway faces calls to drop this system and open up licensing to other approved operators. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is among several other organisations backing such a move. 

Norway remains one of the remaining European countries with a state gambling monopoly. Nearby Finland has committed to ending its monopoly in favour of a licensing model by 2026. Meanwhile, Sweden, Denmark and Germany have also taken similar approaches. 

Upon confirming the MoU, the IBIA and NBO also referenced forecasts from H2 Gambling Capital about illegal gambling in Norway. This include that in 2024, 43% of online betting revenue in the country will be conducted offshore in 2024. 

Monopoly system “hindering” Norway market

“Increasingly strong signals indicate that the Norwegian monopoly is not the most effective solution for consumer protection or industry integrity,” NBO general secretary Carl Fredrik Stenstrøm said

“Betting is a fully digital and international service that cannot be confined to local peculiarities. To establish the best possible framework, the gambling offering must be viewed comprehensively and regulated accordingly.

“The partnership between NBO and IBIA ensures a concerted effort to address responsible practices and supporting initiatives aimed at minimising the impact of gambling-related harm.”

IBIA CEO Khalid Ali also talked up the partnership, saying it will support the NBO’s ongoing effort to lobby against the current monopoly.

“IBIA welcomes the establishment of an MoU with the NBO,” Ali said. “We will seek to support the NBO’s challenge of the continuation of a monopoly-style approach to betting in Norway. 

“The lack of licensing for responsible regulated betting operators in Norway hinders market oversight, consumer protection and the implementation of effective sports betting integrity provisions.”

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