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Norsk Tipping names Sagstuen as managing director

| By Robert Fletcher
Norwegian state-owned monopoly Norsk Tipping has announced the appointment of Tonje Sagstuen as its new managing director.
Norsk Tipping Tonje Sagstuen

Sagstuen has been serving as acting CEO at Norsk Tipping since September. This came after Thor Gjermund Eriksen resigned from the role in June, stepping down at the end of August after just over a year in the role.

Norsk Tipping has now confirmed Sagstuen will become permanent managing director of the business with immediate effect.

Sagstuen takes on the role having been part of the Norsk Tipping senior management team since 2014. She was most recently director of responsibility, society and communication.

Prior to this, Sagstuen spent just under five years with Norwegian newspaper Oppland Arbeiderblad. Here, she served as editor in chief and news editor.

Sagstuen is also a former professional handball player, having featured for the Norwegian national team 217 times.

Norsk Tipping chair welcomes “skilled and experienced” Sagstuen

“I am grateful for the trust the board shows in me and humbled by the responsibility I’ve been given,” Sagstuen said. “We are a large company that plays an important role for the whole of Norway. I look forward to leading the work on our important social mission further.”

Norsk Tipping chairman Sylvia Brustad adds: “I’m pleased to present Tonje Sagstuen as our new managing director. With her, Norsk Tipping gets a skilled and experienced manager who knows the company and its employees very well.

“The board has appreciated the work Sagstuen has done as acting managing director and is pleased that she has accepted the position on a permanent basis. We are convinced that Sagstuen is the right person to lead us going forward.”

Could Norsk Tipping’s monopoly status be under threat?

The change in leadership comes as Norsk Tipping faces uncertainty over its future as the online gambling monopoly in Norway. In September, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) urged lawmakers in the country to switch from its current monopoly system to a licensing model for online gambling.

Norway is one of only a handful of European countries with a state gambling monopoly. However EGBA says Norway should follow the example of other markets such as neighbouring Sweden and Finland and move to a licensing system.

EGBA secretary-general Maarten Haijer said this would help combat issues such as consumers gambling with unlicensed sites. He added that a licensing system would address the demand for alternative gambling options.

Norway monopolies reduce marketing spending

Last month, Norway’s state-owned gambling monopolies completed stringent cuts to marketing expenditure. This came in response to demands from the Norwegian Lottery Authority (Lottstift).

In August 2022, Norsk Tipping was ordered to reduce advertising costs by 20%. Pari-mutuel horse racing betting service Norsk Rikstoto was told to cut its expenditure by around 5%.

Lottstift ordered both operators to reduce marketing expenditure in line with 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.

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