Norway’s government has ruled that national tote Norsk Rikstoto should retain its status as the horseracing betting monopoly in the country after its current concession expires in 2021.
The government had been considering transferring the monopoly from Norsk Rikstoto to national lottery Norsk Tipping when the former’s rights to organise wagering on racing conclude at the end of next year.
However, the government ruled that the current model and system for betting on horseracing should remain in place for the foreseeable future.
“Our main concern is to ensure a responsible and coherent gaming policy,” Norway’s Minister of Culture Abid Raja said. “In connection with the development of new gambling laws, it was therefore natural to consider whether the organisation of horse race betting in a separate gaming company is the best solution for doing this.
“After a thorough overall assessment, we have concluded that the horse race betting should remain under the control of Norsk Rikstoto. At the same time, we will take some steps in the new gambling law to increase accountability and public control of horse race betting.”
The ruling comes after Oslo Economics, under guidance from the government, had forecast how the market could perform after Norsk Rikstoto’s monopoly rights expire. Oslo Economics said that in order for the transfer of the betting monopoly to be successful for all parties, Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping would need to merge.
The Ministry of Culture is due to submit a proposal for a new Gambling Act for consultation later this year, and will include further details of its plans for the horseracing betting monopoly in this proposal.
As part of this approach, the Ministry of Culture worked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to ensure a strong focus on responsible gambling in the new Act.
Agriculture and Food Minister Olaug Bollestad said the Minstry supported the decision to allow Norsk Rikstoto to retain the monopoly after 2021.
Bollestad added: “The equine industry is important to many across the country, and the horse organisations have expressed a strong desire to have their own gaming company dedicated to horse race betting.
“We believe that the model we have today is both suitable for ensuring a responsible gambling policy for the future, while at the same time this solution is for the best for Norwegian equestrian sport.”