EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer says Norway should call time on its monopoly licensing system.
Norway.- With Finland to open a regulated gambling market by 2025, ending the monopoly of state-controlled Veikkaus, Norway will be the last major country in Europe with a state monopoly on gambling. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is reiterating its opinion that it should also change its approach.
Licensed gambling in Norway remains the domain of Norsk Rikstoto (pari-mutuel horse racing betting) and Norsk Tipping, and the national regulator Lotteritilsynet has recently claimed success in getting major unlicensed operators to stop targeting the market. However, the EGBA argues that it’s time for Norway to bring an end to its monopoly system.
Secretary general Maarten Haijer said: “The belief that a monopoly model is essential for safer gambling does not align with the current European trend. Nearly every other European country has implemented some form of licensing system, successfully prioritising player safety within a regulatory framework that provides clear rules for companies to follow.
“In Norway, there is a clear demand for alternatives to the current gambling monopoly, as evidenced by the determination of players to actively seek out and access international websites which offer them greater choice. It is crucial for the government to recognise and respond to this demand.”
He added: “Neighbouring countries like Sweden and Finland have already recognised the benefits of transitioning from a monopoly system to a licensing model, leaving Norway as the only country in mainland Europe committed to an exclusive gambling monopoly.
“It is essential for the authorities to evaluate whether this approach remains relevant in the modern digital age and in comparison to the practices adopted by other European countries. We strongly urge the Norwegian authorities to consider the advantages of a licensing model, which can effectively meet the evolving needs of its players and foster a more comprehensive approach to gambling regulation that prioritises player safety.”
From next year, the Norwegian gambling regulator will have the power to block unlicensed gambling websites.