Norway notifies unified Gambling Act to EC

13 August 2020

The European Commission is to run the rule over Norway's revised gambling legislation, that looks to unify the country's Lottery Act, Gambling Act and Totalisator Act, while maintaining Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto's monopolies in the market.

Notification to the EC comes after the Norwegian Ministry of Culture in June launched a consultation on consolidating the country's gambling laws into a single piece of legislation.

While that consultation is due to run through to 29 September, the notification yesterday (12 August) means the legislation is subject to a standstill period running until 13 November.

“The proposed act aims to prevent gambling problems and other negative consequences of gambling games, and to ensure that such games take place in a responsible manner,” the legislation explained. “This corresponds to the main objectives of the Norwegian gambling policy, which are to prevent problematic gambling activity and protect vulnerable players, prevent crime and prevent private profits from gambling.

“The act will harmonise the legislation applicable to the gambling sector in Norway, and will provide a more coherent and systematic approach to risk assessment, enforcement and sanctions applicable to the sector.”

At present, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto hold monopolies in Norway, with sole rights to offer gambling games with a high turnover, high prizes or present the biggest risk of causing gambling-related problems.

The revised act sets out that these operators would be subject to strict public control and must abide by requirements set out in their licences. These include having in place responsible gambling measures and methods to combat gambling-related crimes.

Non-profit organisations would also be able to offer gambling games with low turnover and prizes of small value to players in the country.

Meanwhile, an existing ban on payment transfer for deposits or winnings related to gambling offered by operators without a permit in Norway would stay in place, as would a provision for a percentage of profits from legal games to go to non-profit organisations.

In terms of marketing, the act states that the promotion of legal games would be permitted on a limited basis, but operators must ensure these advertisements are presented in a safe and responsible manner.

“Marketing shall not be targeted at certain vulnerable groups, such as minors or people who have opted out of marketing for gambling games,” the act said.

The country’s regulator Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet) would be given the power to enforce sanctions such as fines or suspensions on operators if they were to breach any of their licence condition.

Lotteritilsynet could also request Norwegian internet service providers place warning messages on websites illegally targeting players in the country, thus informing players that they are operating without a licence.

In addition, the act makes clear that additional regulations would be added after the basic act is approved and adopted. Details of these regulations would be released at a later date.