The government of Norway (Stortinget) has passed amendments to legislation that will aim to restrict the visibility of offshore gambling operators.
As a result of the changes, Medietilsynet – the country’s Media Authority – will be given greater powers to snuff out unregulated advertising.
Medietilsynet shall have the ability to order both internet service providers and media companies prevent access to prohibited marketing activity.
The only operator allowed to offer online gambling in the Scandinavian country right now is monopoly brand Norsk Tipping.
“Reduce the scope of gambling advertising”
According to a recent study by the University of Bergen, 1.4% of Norway’s population could be classed as ‘problem gamblers’ in 2019. This percentage was up from 0.9% in 2015.
3.1% were determined to be at a moderate risk of developing gambling-related issues (2015: 2.3%), with 8.8% categorised as low-risk (2015: 7.7%).
Minister of Culture and Gender Equality Abid Q. Raja hopes that the new amendments will reduce this number. His thoughts were as follows.
“The (amendment) will reduce the scope of gambling advertising, and may in turn help reduce the number of problem gamblers.
“(Previously) we have not had the necessary tools to enforce the advertising ban on foreign operators. But with this provision, the Media Authority is empowered to impose a duty on internet owners and distributors to prevent access to advertising for illegal gambling.”
Further changes also coming into force
Stortinget also approved a separate change earlier this month, related to the Norwegian Broadcasting Act. Now, Medietilsynet will be able to order that domestic broadcasters stop showing offshore operators’ marketing.
Although Norway had various restrictions to the advertising of certain games and platforms, offshore operators had been finding loopholes. Through this, they had been broadcasting their services to audiences in the country from abroad.
Discussions on how this could be addressed have been going on for years. Earlier this month Kindred’s Norway ban was upheld by the country’s gambling regulator. This move highlighted, according to some, the need for offshore operators to be targeted.
Others within the country have urged that Norsk Tipping’s monopoly is ended, following Bergen University’s problem gambling statistic revelations.