Norwegian Media Authority Orders 5 TV Distributors to Halt Foreign Gambling Ads

Norwegian Media Authority Orders 5 TV Distributors to Halt Foreign Gambling Ads

Last November, Norway asked the European Commission for permission to use DNS blocking for gambling operators opposing cease and desists requests. The request marked a new attempt to gain better control over the websites that can be accessed by gamblers in the country and it came several months after the Broadcasting Act granted the Norwegian Media Authority (NMA) the power to act against illegal gambling ads.

The Scandinavian country with a state monopoly on gambling does not allow non-licensed operators to offer their services and products to Norwegians. Now, the NMA is asking five of the most popular TV distributors in the country to put a ban on gambling ads from several foreign operators.

The ban request follows the general crackdown that officials have enacted on gambling adverts after last year’s investigation that revealed severe breaches on four Discovery Network channels.

Five TV Distributors Summoned to Halt Ads Across Discovery Network

According to the Broadcasting Act that came into effect on January 1, 2021, TV distributors can be asked to prevent or make it more difficult for operators who do not have a license to advertise their products or services in Norway. Allente, Telenor, Altibox, Telia, and RiksTV are the five major TV distributors in Norway that have been asked to put an end to broadcasting gambling ads via four different Discovery network channels: Eurosport Norway, MAX, FEM, and VOX. The targeted ads come from Betsafe, Unibet, Nordicbet, and Betsson.

The five distributors have been advised to revise their Discovery agreements and make sure their broadcasts do not include any form of gambling adverts and marketing, both are strictly forbidden in the country.

The deadline for the new request will expire on August 15. TV distributors who will fail to comply with are expected to suffer “significant financial reactions”. The NMA made it clear that distributors who would oppose the order should not benefit from any financial advantages.

Combined Efforts to Fight Off Foreign Operators

The gambling law in the country is currently managed by the Norwegian Lotteries Authority. The authority strictly prohibits operators who are not licensed to advertise their services in an attempt to protect problem gamblers. In spite of all past efforts to guarantee a safe environment for the most vulnerable categories, the NMA claims TV viewers have continued to be subject to numerous gambling ads from foreign players operators.

The synergy between the NMA’s Broadcasting Act’s provisions, the Norwegian Lottery Authority’s payment service ban, and the attentive monitoring of Facebook and Google are a powerful weapon against foreign companies trying to penetrate the Norwegian gambling market online. In mid-February, the Norwegian Lotteries Authority warned Kindred’s subsidiary Trannel about imposing coercive fines worth $137,000 a day unless Trannel would stop advertising its illegal gaming offering.