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Norwegian Media Authority cracks down on foreign gambling ads

The Norwegian Media Authority has ordered the nation’s five largest TV distributors to remove advertising from foreign gambling companies.

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This comes amid a general crackdown on gambling ads in the Scandinavian country after an investigation last year uncovered “massive and serious” breaches on Discovery Network channels FEM, MAX, VOX and Eurosport Norway.

Telenor, Telia, Altibox, RiksTV and Allente have all been instructed to use their agreements with Discovery to ensure that “television broadcasts do not contain marketing for gambling that is prohibited in Norway.”

The deadline for this is 15 August, and failure to do so will lead to “significant financial reactions.” The Media Authority stated: “It should not pay to oppose the order.”

In the Nordic country, the government exercises a state monopoly on gambling, with Norway’s gambling law administered by the Norwegian Lotteries Authority.

Under this law, advertising from unlicensed operators is prohibited, motivated by “the desire to protect people with gambling problems.”

Nevertheless, the Norwegian Media Authority claims the country has seen “large amounts of gambling advertising” on TV, primarily from “foreign players.”

But empowered by a January 2021 amendment to the nation’s Broadcasting Act, the Media Authority now has the power to order TV distributors to prevent or make it difficult for unlicensed gambling companies to market their products or services in Norway.

“Overall, the Norwegian Media Authority’s enforcement of the provisions of the Broadcasting Act, the Lottery Authority’s effective enforcement of the payment service ban and close follow-up against platforms such as Google and Facebook, make foreign companies’ access to the Norwegian market increasingly difficult,” wrote Mari Velsand, Director of the Norwegian Media Authority.

“It is a desired development, which society benefits from – and most of all the vulnerable among us.”

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