A fresh wave of regulatory criticism towards gambling-related ads on Norwegian and Swedish media was unleashed earlier this week. State-run organizations are tasked with the provision of gambling services in both Scandinavian countries, and any international operators targeting local players are highly unwelcome.
It emerged a few days ago that Norwegian lawmakers would look to crack down on gambling ads broadcast on television by introducing tighter rules in relation to the way gambling services are advertised within the country’s borders.
In Sweden, the local gambling regulator, Lotteriinspektionen, warned free daily newspaper Metro, which is known to be read by more than one million residents of the country, to cease and desist advertising international gaming operators or otherwise face the consequences of its actions.
Here it is important to note that internationally licensed operators have long been targeting players from both countries, despite the fact that their activities are not regulated there. What is more, such operators have been advertising their products quite aggressively in both Sweden and Norway, which has oftentimes made them subjects to heavy criticism from regulators.
Norway’s Looming Crackdown on Gambling Ads
In Norway, the state-run Norsk Tipping and Rikstoto are the only two operators that are allowed to advertise their products and services on local television. It is also important to note that the aforementioned two organizations are holding the monopoly over the provision of gambling services in the country, and both lawmakers and gambling regulators have pointed out numerous times that they do not plan to scrap the current monopoly regime anytime soon.
However, international gambling operators have been able to circumvent the existing rules on gambling-related ads content by advertising their products on Norwegian TV channels that broadcast from outside the country.
Studies show that an average number of 62 gambling-related commercials are broadcast on Norwegian television every hour. These are all promoting services offered by foreign operators. It is namely this portion of ads that Norwegian politicians are determined to crack down on. Local media reported citing the country’s Culture Minister Linda Hofstad Helleland that an official proposal for the implementation of certain changes will likely be introduced next spring so that they are approved before the summer.
One more indication that Norwegian politicians and regulators have grown tired of international operators targeting local players emerged earlier this week. The Norwegian Gaming Authority (Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet) scolded two online payment service providers – Trustly and Entercash – for never cutting off cash flows between Norwegian players and foreign operators.
Swedish Regulator’s Rage against Gambling Ads
Gambling ads were also the center of discussions in Sweden where Lotteriinspektionen warned the publisher of Metro to stop advertising international operators who are not authorized to operate in the country. The regulatory body pointed out that by publishing such gambling-related ads, the newspaper was violating the nation’s Lottery Act.
Lotteriinspektionen also went on to explain that it had previously warned Metro to cease and desist and that any future violations will be punished with heavy fines. The newspaper is thus facing a penalty of SEK250,000 (approximately $30,000), if gambling advertising content does not disappear from its pages.
Sweden is in the middle of creating a new gambling regulatory framework that when adopted, will scrap the current monopoly system and will replace it with one that will allow international operators to enter the local market. It is believed that the new gambling law will be implemented in early 2019.
Robert Johnson is an experienced web author and blogger. He has over three years of experience as a freelance journalist and writer.