The government of Norway has put forward legal changes that will prevent foreign gambling companies promoting their services on Norwegian television.
The government will seek to amend the Broadcasting Act to enable the Norwegian Media Authority to force Norwegian TV companies and internet service providers to block the access of illegal marketing.
Speaking about the changes, the Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, Abid Q.Raja, said that they were being introduced because the existing rules against illegal advertising have been hard to enforce as TV stations that broadcast into the country are operating outside Norway’s jurisdiction. Raja added that the legal proposals were designed to put those at risk of gambling harm ahead of financial issues:
“For the government, this is a value choice where the interests of people with gambling problems and their relatives must take precedence over financial considerations,” said Raja.
The government has been discussing a block on advertising since 2017. Companies are currently able to use a loophole that enables them to advertise through channels operating from foreign locations. The Norwegian gambling regulator also investigated the issue in 2018.
At the moment, Norway has just two organisations permitted to provide gambling services in the country, and both are owned by the state. Norsk Tipping has a licence to provide casino and draw-based betting games, and Norsk Rikstoto provides a totalisator betting services. Both organisations raise considerable sums of money for good causes, including healthcare and sport.
In October last year, the regulator revealed that there had been a 19% drop in the level of advertising by overseas gambling companies in the Norwegian market. According to one report, released last summer, Norwegian television companies could be set to lose as much as £42 million if a ban on overseas advertising was introduced. But having already brought in a ban on banks processing payments to unlicensed betting companies this year, the government seems determined to clamp down on the operations of overseas betting firms.