The Borgarting Court of Appeal has ruled that Norsk Tipping’s gaming monopoly in Norway does not breach EEA law.
Norway.- The Borgarting Court of Appeal has backed the legality of Norway’s monopoly system under which Norsk Tipping has exclusive rights to offer most forms of gaming.
The lottery operator Norsk Lotteri AS lodged a legal challenge back in 2018 after its application for a gambling licence in Norway was denied.
It argued that Norsk Tipping’s monopoly on gaming breached article 31 of the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement, which guarantees equal rights and obligations for all businesses and individuals in the EEA internal market.
The article states that there “shall be no restrictions on the freedom of establishment of nationals of an EC member state or an EFTA state in the territory of any other of these states”.
Norway is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) along with Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland.
However, the court has now ruled that it found no contravention of EEA rules in Norsk Tipping’s exclusive rights.
It said that Norway’s model was suitable for channelling players to responsible gaming and thus contributed to reducing gambling problems. It also ruled that the continued existence of unregulated online gambling did not mean the existing model was unsuitable.
The court was also of the opinion that Norsk Tipping concentrates on responsible gaming rather than the attractiveness of its products, making it a leader in responsible gaming and customer screening. Norsk Lotteri AS may appeal to Norway’s Supreme Court.
Norsk Tipping has exclusive rights over most forms of gambling in Norway, while Norsk Rikstoto, also a state-controlled monopoly, has exclusive rights over betting on horse racing.
The monopoly system has been further reinforced in Norway’s new Gambling Act, which was submitted last month. The act introduces tougher sanctions for unlicensed gaming operators and affiliates.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian regulator is pushing for a move to 100 per cent account-based gaming in the country.