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Society and the market

Policy and regulation

The Norwegian gaming model is constantly being enhanced. Below is an overview of the main changes in 2022.

The Norwegian gaming model

Responsibility first

The Norwegian gaming model is primarily designed to prevent problem gambling and other negative consequences of gaming.

Strictly regulated

In 2022, the gaming market was regulated by three laws.

1. The Gaming Act
2. The Lotteries Act
3. The Totalisator Act

On 1.1.2023, these three laws were repealed and replaced by a single new Act: the Gaming Act (in Norwegian).

Limited number of providers

The law restricts who is allowed to offer various types of gaming. The government has chosen to give the monopoly companies Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto responsibility for offering the highest risk games.

Supervision and political control

The government maintains tight control of the gaming market. The Ministry of Culture and Equality exercises ownership of Norsk Tipping. The Norwegian Gaming Authority supervises the company’s activities and those of other providers who offer gaming.

White Paper

In 2017, the Storting (Norwegian parliament) approved a report on gaming, ‘Everything to Gain – A Responsible and Active Gaming Policy’ (Report to the Storting (White Paper no. 12 (2016–2017)) (in Norwegian). The government decided to continue the monopoly model. The White Paper contained a number of measures designed to reinforce the monopoly model. Several of these were followed up by the Ministry of Culture and Equality in 2022.

Stopping illegal gambling commercials on TV

The TV companies Discovery Communications and NENT Group have challenged the Norwegian regulations on gaming commercials for many years. For a long time, the companies were able to show commercials for foreign gaming operators on Norwegian channels that were broadcast from abroad. The Norwegian Broadcasting Act was amended with effect from 1.1.2021. This gave the Norwegian Media Authority the power to order Norwegian TV distributors to halt or impede access for illegal gambling commercials. NENT Group chose to stop broadcasting illegal gambling commercials on its channels. Discovery chose to test the legislative amendment in the courts, all of which dismissed the case.

An inspection conducted by the Media Authority in 2021 (in Norwegian) revealed extensive illegal marketing on Discovery’s channels. In spring 2022, the supervisory authority issued orders to the distributors Telenor, Telia, Altibox, RiksTV and Allente, (in Norwegian) who were given until 15.8.2022 to comply with the decision. A short time before the deadline, Discovery chose to suspend its illegal gambling commercials pending the result of the company testing the Media Authority’s order in court.

In November 2022, Discovery decided to withdraw its lawsuit against the State (in Norwegian). In an inspection lasting from 16.8.2022 to 1.12.2022, the Media Authority identified no illegal gambling commercials on Discovery’s channels and therefore ended its inspection (in Norwegian).

The proposed new Gaming Act was debated and passed by the Storting in spring 2022 and the Act came into force on 1.1.2023.

New Gaming Act and Gaming Regulation passed

One of the measures in the gaming White Paper from 2017 was to merge the three laws in the area of gaming, the Gaming Act, the Lotteries Act and the Totalisator Act, into a single Act. The proposed new Gaming Act was debated and passed by the Storting in spring 2022 and the Act came into force on 1.1.2023. The new Act (in Norwegian) introduced several measures that strengthened the Norwegian gaming model in line with the White Paper from 2017:

  • The purposes of the new Act have been clearly ranked where the main purpose is to prevent problem gambling and other adverse consequences of gaming
  • The monopoly model has been continued with two exclusive providers (Norsk Tipping and a provider with permission to offer horseracing games)
  • The Ministry of Culture and Equality has been given overall responsibility for gaming policy
  • The role of the Norwegian Gaming Authority has been strengthened, and the authority has been given more tools with which to enforce the regulations

As a consequence of the new legislation, a new Gaming Regulation has also been introduced. The new Regulation includes provisions that establish common requirements for all gaming providers, marketing rules and prohibitions on autoplay and VIP programmes, and also introduces registered gaming and loss limits for digital bingo games.

The Regulations that govern the Grassroots Share and distribution of Norsk Tipping’s surplus funds have also been amended. The amendments generally involve adaptations to the new Gaming Act and came into force on 1.1.2023 together with the new Act and Regulation.

New action plan for problem gambling

In 2022, the Ministry of Culture and Equality launched a new action plan for problem gambling for 2022-2025. The plan was drawn up by the Norwegian Gaming Authority in collaboration with the Directorate of Health and the Media Authority. It has three main objectives:

  • To minimise the number of people with gambling problems
  • To increase and share knowledge about gaming and problem gambling
  • To identify people with gambling problems early and provide good treatment

An annual budget of NOK 17 million has been allocated to follow up the plan.

In 2022, the Norwegian Gaming Authority took several decisions aimed at halting gaming offers targeted at Norway from abroad.