Norwegian igaming group calls for rethink on new legislation

Norway's proposed new legislation is currently subject to a standstill period.
Norway's proposed new legislation is currently subject to a standstill period.

The Norwegian Association for Online Gaming has called on legislators to look at legislation again from scratch.

Norway.- An industry association has blasted Norway’s proposed new gambling legislation and called on lawmakers to undertake a complete rethink.

The new bill, which has been submitted to the European Commission, aims to streamline Norway’s Lottery Act, Gambling Act and Totalisator Act into a single piece of legislation.

It maintains the state-controlled monopolies of Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. 

The Norwegian Association for Online Gaming (Norsk Bransjeforening for Onlinespill/NBO) says the continuation of those monopolies means poor value for customers and poor standards of protection.

It warned that the rate of channelisation to the regulated sector was already as low as 50 per cent, meaning that the majority of Norwegian players are not protected by gaming regulations, leading to an increase in problem gambling. 

NBO instead proposes the licensing of private operators at a tax rate of 15 per cent, which it argues could increase channelisation 95 per cent while generating tax revenues of NOK1.22bn.

It has held Denmark’s model up as an example.

The association suggests licences could be awarded only to companies that meet responsible gaming criteria, ensuring operators carry out checks on affordability and sources of funds.

All regulated operators would have to sign up to a self-exclusion tool, the group suggests.

NBO secretary general, Carl Fredrik Stenstrøm, said: “Through such a re-regulated licensing model, the Norwegian authorities will ensure a much higher degree of channelling for gambling in Norway.

“This in turn will provide far better protection for vulnerable players and generate increased government revenue.

“In Denmark, they introduced their licence model in 2012. With a tax rate of 20 per cent, they have reached a channelling rate of 91 per cent.”

Meanwhile, Norway’s regulator has called on the new legislation to go further and to explicitly prohibit any operators from offering online casino products in competition with Norsk Tipping.

It also suggested that all gambling should be made account-based.

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