Norway’s state-owned totalisator betting business Norsk Rikstoto has proposed establishing a mandatory monthly spending limit for all customers, with the country’s gambling regulator speaking out in favour of the proposal.
Should the cap be implemented, players would be able to bet and lose no more than NOK20,000 (£1,779/€2,019/$2,222) every 30 days. However, players could roll over any balance left at the end of this period for up to 90 days, meaning they could in theory spend NOK60,000 in 30 days every three months.
Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet) has backed the move, with director Henrik Nordal describing it as a “safety net” for those that cannot control their gambling.
While Nordal acknowledged that critics have claimed the mandatory spending cap would significantly reduce revenue for Norway’s horse racing sector, he argued that protecting players took precedence over growing income for the industry.
“We see the need to clarify [Norsk Rikstoto’s] role here,” he said. “Norsk Rikstoto’s main duty is to provide a safe and responsible way to gamble.
“That the horse racing industry benefits from its profits is a consequence, and not a reason, as to why it is one of the few operators licensed to offer real-money gambling in Norway.”
Nordal also dismissed the suggestion of making an exception for high-spending gamblers, arguing that they were as much at risk of problems as those spending lower sums.
“The high-spending players are gambling too much, and they are losing a lot,” he said. “They are as much at risk of developing problems as other players, and Norsk Rikstoto has not provided evidence to suggest the opposite.
“It would therefore be irresponsible to create a special scheme for these players were they can overspend,” he explained.
However, Lotteritilsynet can only make recommendations on whether the proposal should be brought into effect, with the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food to make the final decision. Should it accept Norsk Rikstoto’s proposal, the mandatory limits would come into effect from 1 January, 2020.
Norsk Tipping, the only other operator licensed to offer real-money gambling in Norway, has already introduced a NOK20,000 spending cap for players. It has since further tightened its responsible gaming controls by blocking players from spending winnings above NOK20,000.
This was followed by the launch of a new feature in July, which showed online players their recent gambling activity upon logging into their accounts.