by Katerin Cruz on October 6, 2020

Norway demands reforms in the gambling sector from EC

Norwegian gambling industry is facing some major changes as the government of the country tries to implement new ideas, revise gambling legislation, and expand the already existing regulations.

Recently, Abid Raja, the Norwegian Minister of culture, proposed changes and decided to review the country’s gambling laws. He launched a consultation with the demand to unify gambling laws and make one single regulatory framework. Currently, the regulation system in Norway is strict enough but the Minister believes that having divided legislative guides creates ambiguity and makes it difficult to protect the customers from threats.

Existing regulations consist of three different gambling acts: the Lottery Act, the Gambling Act, and the Totalisator Act. Such kind of divided laws often causes confusion and disharmony in people involved in the gambling industry. For example, on various websites, you can easily find offers about gratis spinn which is translated as “free spins”, where online casinos are giving out free spin no deposit bonus codes for the beginners. This often confuses, as there is nothing said in the existing acts about these offers. Unifying these three approaches and making one, holistic, comprehensive law is important to provide more responsible gaming and raise the effectiveness of the gambling sector in Norway.

Unified Law

Because there are various forms of gambling, sometimes different approaches are required for effective monitoring. In general, countries have certain regulatory bodies that manage various regulatory channels and it means breaking the gambling space into different parts. It’s a widely accepted fact that having a strict regulation system is important for ensuring the safety and security of your people and protecting them from financial losses but it’s not only about harsh laws and organizing the laws understandably and systematically is also important. Nowadays many countries started to realize that providing a unified gambling approach is important for increasing the effectiveness of regulations in the gambling sector. There have been many attempts to provide this kind of holistic gambling act and recently Norway joined the list. Here you can see that Norway pushes reform existing regulatory laws and bring these different channels in one single regulatory framework.

The idea is not accepted only by the Minister of culture and the country’s main gambling regulator, Lotteritilsynet, also believes that the new initiative will increase the chances of more responsible gambling and change the situation for good. According to them, it’s an important step to improve the overall gambling ecosystem in Norway and protect the vulnerable people from gambling scams and fraud. It will ensure that gambling will be available only via legal channels and better control of the whole sector will be possible.

However, Lotteritilsynet doesn’t fully accept the Raja’s demands. They think that unified gambling legislation doesn’t mean that the industry will open up. They still want some state-owned operators, such as Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping, to be in charge of the gambling sector, as they provide strict player protection. They believe that certain games require special public controls.

EC’s reaction

The initiative finally caught some attention from the European Commission. In August, Raja launched this consultation to the European Commission but they didn’t respond. However, now EC decided to pay more attention to the initiative and consider removing a moratorium on updating gambling laws in Norway. The moratorium will be revised on November 13 and if the basic act is approved and adopted, further regulations will be added.




By Katerin Cruz

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