Facebook removes pages for 36 unlicensed operators in Norway

23 June 2020

Social media giant Facebook has removed 36 pages promoting unlicensed gambling operators in Norway, following a request from country’s regulator Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet).

According to Lotteritilsynet, the operators in question had been using the Facebook pages to promote their products to Nowegian citizens.

Content on the pages was written in Norwegian and encouraged citizens in the country to register with unlicensed operators, which Lotteritilsynet said was in breach of the country's prohibition on marketing by offshore gaming companies.

The regulator also noted that such activity was against Facebook’s rules, which state operators must have a licence to offer gambling in the particular country they are marketing to via their Facebook page.

Coolbet’s Facebook pages promoting Kommunepoker and Vennepoker, as well as pages related to ComeOn, Guts, Norgesautomaten, Vera & John and Pokio were all removed from the social media platform.

Norsk Tipping holds the gambling monopoly in Norway and is the only operator currently permitted to offer online gambling.

“This marketing violates Norwegian [gambling] regulations and Facebook's guidelines,” Lotteritilsynet senior advisor and lawyer Monica Alisøy Kjelsnes said. “It is also true that many Norwegians are on Facebook, and the gaming companies can potentially reach many there with illegal advertising.

“We are very positive that Facebook is removing pages and advertisements with promotions for gambling that do not have a licence in Norway, and looks at the dialogue with Facebook as an effective tool to reduce access to illegal gambling.”

However, Kjelsnes said more must be done to tackle unlicensed operators in the country, saying that such companies are also using other channels outside of social media to connect with players. These include television commercials, other website, sponsorship deals and press releases.

Last month, Norway’s parliament (Stortinget) approved a legislative amendment aimed at preventing offshore gambling operators from advertising their services to consumers in the country via the internet.

The amendment will grant enhanced powers to the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet), allowing it to order internet service providers and media companies to prevent access to illegal marketing.

The announcement came after the Stortinget last month also gave its approval to a separate provision related to Norway’s Broadcasting Act. This amendment allows the Medietilsynet to order domestic broadcasters to stop showing marketing from offshore operators.