From 1 January, the Norwegian Media Authority will have the opportunity to stop TV advertising from overseas gambling companies. From the same date, the Ministry of Culture will also tighten the guidelines for Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, limiting their advertising to what is necessary to channel consumers away from unlicensed private operators and towards the two state-owned operators.
The new guidelines will, among other things, mean that the use of tools in Norsk Tipping’s marketing of high profits and money for good causes will be toned down. The new guidelines also increase the requirements for responsible marketing, with all advertising to include contact information for a gambling helpline services.
The introduction of the Norwegian Media Authority’s new tool for stopping gambling advertising on television and subsequent tightening of the guidelines of Norsk Tipping is part of the government’s preventive work against gambling problems. The government said the decision to act came in the wake of the University of Bergen’s ‘Extent of gambling and computer gambling problems in Norway in 2019’ survey which showed an increase in gambling problems compared with the previous survey from 2015, in part due to the impact of advertising.
“It is serious that gambling problems in the population increase, and we are working on a number of measures to reverse this trend,” said Abid Raja, Minister of Culture.
“The possibility of stopping TV advertising from foreign gambling companies is an important measure in the work of preventing gambling problems. With less gambling advertising on TV, we can also tighten the guidelines for Norsk Tipping’s marketing.”
Earlier this month, Norsk Tipping introduce a series of temporary measures that will run throughout December and January designed to reduce spending and playing time.
The operator reduced the maximum monthly loss limit on its high-risk games by 25%, with customers only permitted to lose up to NOK7,500 (£634/€707/$845) each month when playing KongKasino, eFlax, Bingoria and Yezz.
Norsk Tipping also increased the mandatory break players must take after playing continuously for one hour, with this rising from 90 seconds to 15 minutes.
“We know that gambling problems are increasing in the population, and that December is our biggest gambling month,” Norsk Tipping chief executive Åsne Havnelid said at the time.
“The measures against novel coronavirus (Covid-19) mean that more people can experience spending more time alone than they usually do during the Christmas month. For vulnerable players, this can lead to more gambling, and we want to prevent that.”
At the same time, the Norwegian government announced that it will commit an additional NOK15m to problem gambling efforts in the country.
The new funding came after the Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gaming (Norsk Bransjeforening for Onlinespill/NBO) in October called for a complete rethink on rules relating to the sector in its official response to the country’s proposed new gambling legislation.
According to the NBO, the bill, which seeks to unify the existing Lottery Act, Gambling Act and Totalisator Act and maintain Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto’s monopolies in the market, would mean poor standards of protection and value for customers.
Instead, the NBO advocates a licensing model for private operators, with a tax rate of 15%, which it said would result in an expected channelling rate of more than 95%.