TV gambling ads in Norway may soon vanish from the screens

Oliver Noah

Gambling-related problems stand as a major problem for the nation in many countries across the globe. Different countries are addressing the issue in different ways and have already implemented and launched campaigns in order to prevent certain outcomes and reduce the harm caused by gambling activity.

Gambling is one of the most popular and widespread activities in the world. Over 50% of the whole population has gambled at least once. While the gambling industry is one of the most popular as well as lucrative, it still manages to put certain things on scales.

Scandinavia is one of the most developed regions in the world. Leading countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are all part of the most progressive region. Despite this fact, Scandinavia still has some problems regarding gambling. Norway is the capital of gambling in the region. Though, they have implemented certain measures in order to make the activity responsible as possible.

New Regulations

Norway has recently implemented measures for the further prevention of gambling-related problems. The issue of gambling and responsible gambling is the topic of discussion in Norway ever since 2017. Several regulations were launched and implemented in order to address the problem.

The wave of regulations has already impacted TV advertisements in Norway. The major step made by the government is the ban of the overseas operators from advertising on TV channels within the country.

The existing gambling regulations in Norway are not very strict, though are efficient enough to avoid any illicit activities in the market. Thus, many offshore and overseas operators still manage to enter the Norwegian gambling market despite the ban. This happens due to the existing loophole in the legislation of the country. Due to the loophole, overseas gambling operators manage to promote their products on the national TV channels of the country, which is considered to be illegal.

The first steps in closing the loophole for the overseas gambling operators were made in 2017, which has already reduced the activity and the advertisement of the overseas operators in the Norwegian market for a 19% year on year basis. Though, obviously this is not enough to close the case completely.

In 2019, the Norwegian government decided to take further steps and to devote the whole power and the control over all media channels and sources to the Norwegian Media Authority. Within this action, the media authority is granted with the power over TV distributors in terms of preventing access to any illegal marketing.

Lottstift, which is the gambling regulator in Norway, set certain conditions and terms for the unlicensed overseas operators that still have access to the Norwegian TV advertising. The discussions did not stop on the terms and after the broad consultation in 2018, both the government and gambling regulator decided to take further steps and transfer the control and the whole case to the Media Authority, which will be in charge of closing the hole that allows gambling product advertising from the unlicensed or overseas gambling operators.

Norwegian Media Authority Responsibilities

Norwegian Media Authority is one of the most crucial bodies in the country. The agency is responsible for monitoring the content especially sensitive for children and many vulnerable people. They are in charge of raising awareness on children’s use of any digital media and social media channels, they also control the usage of the radio, computer games, and TV broadcasts. The agency sets a certain age limit on the usage of the above-mentioned products and sources. Norwegian Media Authority also investigates and reports the negative social effects of gaming in society.

Besides closing the loophole via implementing certain regulations, the government decided to put a ban on the banking transactions and payments for the overseas operators. The banks will be in charge of controlling the origin, name, and activity of the company. Any transaction made by the gambling company will be blocked. New rules and regulations apply to all parties involved from the 1st of January 2020.

Currently, there are only two legit operators in the country, who are legally allowed to advertise their products on the TV. Those are the Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. Both operators have contributed to society via funding humanitarian work, sports, healthcare, cultural, scientific and research initiatives. The revenue of both operators in 2018 reached approximately NOK5.5 billion. Despite their support, the new regulations might impact the operation and performance of the two companies as well. Though, Norway still has to solve some more important holes, rather than addressing legal gambling operators.