Norway Moves Towards Tougher State Control Over Gambling
Norway is a country in Northern Europe that is grappling with the issue of problem gambling for a very long time. This is why Norway has some of the strictest regulations regarding gambling in the whole of Europe. It does not though mean that Norwegians do not gamble. They do and quite a lot, despite many restrictions which it seems that mainly applies to banking restrictions and deposit limitations, as you can read at norskcasinohex website. But now some news are above to come. Two months ago, the ministry of culture in Norway led an initiative aimed at subjecting Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto to tougher regulations from the government.
Both these entities are monopolies in the world of gambling in Norway. Culture Minister Abid Q. Raja, while refuting charges of meddling by the government, said that all that the government wants is to get rid of hurdles in governing these state monopolies. At present, both these monopolies are controlled by not one, but three different legislations.
The long term objective of Norwegian government is to protect the interests of the people from operators who are not licensed. To achieve this objective, government aims to strengthen Lotteritilsynet, the national regulator. It also wants to reduce the number of agencies overseeing the operations of gambling entities. Currently, there are three acts namely Gambling Act, Lottery Act, and Totalisator Act governing both Norsk Risktoto and Norsk Tipping.
The consultations that were initiated and supported by the government two months ago will form the basis for a new set of laws. Culture Minister Abid Q. Raja said that the government does not mind Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto as state monopolies and there is no plan to review these monopolies. Government only intends to consolidate the three agencies and merge them into a single entity so as to control the Norwegian gambling market in a more efficient manner.
In this process, government also aims to strengthen Lotteritilsynet. This agency will be given more powers so as to make sure that all gaming activity in the country is legal. Government plans to order ISPs to notify whenever they see advertising from offshore gambling websites. These offshore companies are considered illegal and unlicensed by the government. Norsk Tipping has said that the increase in problem gambling is a result of advertising carried out by offshore gambling companies.
All this activity and the concern shown by the government is the result of a recent study that clearly shows significant increase in problem gambling. This study was conducted by researchers at the University of Bergen and it questions the efficacy of the existing gambling legislations. The study poses tough questions in front of the government regarding gambling monopolies Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. The stats revealed by the study are indeed alarming. They show an increase of nearly 62% in problem gambling in Norway.
The consultations that began at the start of August will continue till 29th of September. Stakeholders from both the consumers as well as operators were invited to take part in these consultations. Opinions of these stakeholders are being heard so that the final proposal can safeguard the interests of both groups. Abid Q. Raja said that the bill the government intends to propose in the assembly aims to solve problems prevailing in the gaming business at present. This bill, when it becomes an Act, will also seek to reduce the negative impacts of problem gambling behavior.
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