Norway: criticism over rise in problem gambling

The EGBA says rise shows monopoly system is not working.
The EGBA says rise shows monopoly system is not working.

Concerns have been raised following research that shows a rise in problem gambling in Norway.

Norway.- The European Gaming and Betting Association has raised concerns following the release of new research suggesting a rise in problem gambling.

A survey of 9,000 Norwegian citizens carried out by the University of Bergen for Norway’s gambling regulator, Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet, found problem gambling in the country to have increased 62 per cent since 2015, with 55,000 people now affected and 122,000 at risk.

The EGBA says the findings cast doubt over the merits of Norway’s exclusive state-owned gambling monopoly held by Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. It has urged a fundamental reevaluation of how the country regulates online gambling.

The association argues that it can no longer be claimed that problem gambling can be better managed by the state than private companies.

It also claims that the restriction of consumer choice undermines gambling regulation, deprives the state of tax revenues and is leading Norwegian gamblers to  foreign websites.

EGBA Secretary General, Maarten Haijer, said: “These research findings are worrying and prove Norway’s gambling monopoly is not protecting its citizens.

“Gamblers tend to shop around for the best betting odds or bonuses and, if they are faced with restricted choices, they will simply look elsewhere to find them.

“That’s why the vast majority of European countries have rejected monopolies in favour of licensing-based online regulation and it’s only a matter of time before Norway will have to do the same.

“Providing the consumer with choice leads to better channelling, better tax revenues for the state and better consumer protection.”

EGBA recently put its weight behind criticism of Sweden’s imposition of deposit limits on online gambling.

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Norway Problem gambling regulation