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Norway’s gambling monopolies complete stringent marketing cuts

| By Richard Mulligan
Norway’s state-owned gambling monopolies have completed stringent cuts to their marketing expenditure demanded by the national regulator.
Norsk Tipping Tonje Sagstuen

Last August, sports betting operator Norsk Tipping was ordered to reduce advertising costs by 20%, taking NOK45m ($4.0m/€3.8m/£3.3m) from its budget in 2023. Pari-mutuel horse racing betting service Norsk Rikstoto was told to cut its expenditure by around 5%, which equated to NOK3.4m.

The Norwegian Lottery Authority (Lottstift) ordered the pair to reduce marketing expenditure as a result of new rules that stopped illegal gambling operators from advertising on Norwegian television. Within weeks, Norsk Tipping announced it had ceased advertising its sports betting services on Norwegian television.

Lottstift said it is satisfied that both businesses have now complied with the order.

“According to Norwegian law, gambling can only be marketed as far as is necessary to inform about the gambling offer and lead the desire to gamble in society to responsible and safe gambling,” said Atle Hamar, director of Lottstift.

“The Norwegian Lottery Authority is satisfied that both gambling providers have completed the process of reducing the marketing pressure. Advertising and marketing for gambling is harmful for those who have problems with gambling.”

Have rule changes affected problem gambling in Norway?

Norway has attempted a multi-faceted approach to protecting its gambling monopolies. As well as draconian new rules on advertising, banks are banned from processing transactions with unlicensed operators. Earlier this month, the government outlined plans to block websites offering unlicensed gambling services.

Norway’s five largest TV distributors were last year forced to remove advertising from foreign gambling companies. The Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) was given the power to make the order through the Broadcasting Act 2021.

In June, a gambling harms survey found that the number of Norwegians who suffer from problem gambling has more than halved since 2019. Complied by Spillforsk at the University of Bergen, the research shows approximately 23,000 consumers suffer from problem gambling in Norway and 93,000 are at risk of developing gambling harms. That compared to 55,000 problem gamblers and 122,000 who were at risk in 2019.

However, a Medietilsynet report published in July found that 63% of children and young people aged 13-18 had seen adverts for gambling. While this was lower than 71% in the last report in 2020, Medietilsynet and gaming authorities expressed their concern at the findings.

Last December, Norsk Rikstoto had its exclusive licence to offer bets on horse racing extended for another 10 years. At the time, the minister for culture and equality, Anette Trettebergstuen, said that she felt that Norsk Rikstoto understood its role as a monopoly operator and that its goals were aligned with the government.

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