Norway prepares EHF Euro 2020 gambling ad crackdown

10 January 2020

The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) and Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF) will work to ensure participants in the European Handball Federation (EHF) Euro 2020 tournament respect the country’s gambling regulations.

NIF and NHF will work in tandem with the country’s gambling regulator Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet (Lottstift) to ensure that events in the tournament that take place in Norway, or which target Norwegian citizens, are free from unlicensed gambling advertising.

This prohibits gambling logos for unlicensed operators - i.e., all companies other than Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto - on athletes’ kits, advertising hoardings and in tournament arenas.

While this will principally affect matches that are played in the country, it may also affect those played in the other host nations - Sweden and Austria for the men’s event, and Denmark for the women’s - and broadcast in Norway.

“We urge international federations and the various nations that are part of the European Championship to respect Norwegian regulations,” Lottstift director Gunn Merete Paulsen commented.

Paulsen noted that the initiative is being led by NIF and NHF, which asked the regulator for its input.

“We think this is a good initiative, and it shows [NIF and NHF] are taking the regulations seriously,” she added.

The prohibition of gambling advertising and sponsorship, at least for matches in Norway and featuring the Norwegian team, follows Kindred Group announcing it was to donate its exposure rights for part of the tournament to a mental health charity.

The operator will give the branding space to European Network of Active Living for Mental Health (ENALMH), a charity that promotes physical activity as a way to help prevent and address mental health problems. It previously sponsored championships in 2015, 2018 and 2019. This only applies to matches played in the country. 

The sports federation's involvement in the country's gambling advertising crackdown comes amid efforts to drive private operators from the Norwegian market. This has seen the government move to close a loophole that allowed gambling operators to advertise on satellite TV channels that broadcast into Norway, legal action launched against a number of operators, and efforts to employ payment blocking measures stepped up.

The EHF European Men's Handball Championship 2020 will take place across Sweden, Austria and Norway from 10 to 26 January, while the women's 2020 event will be held in Denmark and Norway from 3 to 20 December, 2020.