Norsk charities launch study on ‘sensitive area’ of market models

Spillavhengighet Norge, Norway’s problem gambling association, has confirmed that it will study opposing market frameworks to Norway’s existing monopoly structure.

The decision follows the conclusion of Spillavhengighet’s annual ‘Gaming Addiction Conference’, in which members unanimously voted to form a working group reviewing different market models.

Operating under a monopoly framework, to date Norwegian gambling has been exclusively serviced by state-owned enterprises Norsk Tipping (betting/lotteries/gaming) and Rikstoto (racing).

However, the monopoly framework has been challenged by remote gambling operators, who argue that Norway’s online marketplace can be accessed as it holds no distinct online gambling laws under the mandate of its ‘1995 Lottery Act’.

Legislative grey areas have caused much friction between international operators and gambling regulator Lottstift which continues to enforce a ‘zero tolerance’ approach on remote actors who undermine Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto’s monopoly privileges.

Confirming Spillavhengighet’s planned study, senior advisor Magnus Pedersen noted that members had chosen to review a ‘polarising debate for Norwegian gambling’.

Supporting Spillavhengighet initiatives, Pedersen stated that stakeholders could not afford a ‘black and white debate’ on market frameworks, as Spillavhengighet has a duty to protect vulnerable consumers.

Furthermore, Pedersen and Spillavhengighet underlined that Norwegian circumstances had changed following the re-regulation of Sweden’s online gambling marketplace in 2019, radically changing marketplace dynamics.

Pernille Huseby, Secretary-General of addiction treatment charity Actis, branded Spillavhengighet study as unnecessary and conflicting.

Huseby stated that market dynamics had been comprehensively reviewed by Storting (Parliament) back in 2018, backing Norway’s existing model.

“The unequivocal answer was that, with regard to accountability and a safe framework, the ‘one-law model’ was what the majority in the Storting thought would be safest…we still stand by that,” Huseby told Norwegian media.

Renewing the concessions of Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto, both Storting and Lottstift have underlined that the Norwegian government holds no plans to review its gambling frameworks or open any markets for foreign competition.

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