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

Norwegian Gambling Authority Praises Media Authority for Continuing Gambling Ads Ban

The gambling authority in Norway has congratulated the media authority for holding on to its firm decision to keep banning gambling advertising on TV. The decision was not received well by media broadcasters. Among them, Altibox and Telia, two companies that required the regulations to go through a process of revision for allegedly contradicting European Economic Area standards for broadcasters. 

Four Broadcasters Asked to Stop All Gambling Ads on Discovery TV Channels

Medietilsynet, the media authority in the country, ordered Riks TV, Telia, Allente, and Altibox to put a stop to all their broadcasts of Discovery TV channels that include gambling sponsorships and ads. The order was issued as a result of the amendments to the country’s Broadcasting Act which covers all Discovery TV channels, including VOX, Eurosport, FEM, and MAX. The request needs to be fulfilled by all media broadcasters by August 15.

Altibox and Telia argued their TV services faced severe restrictions because of the order. They also added that the media authority should not have any sort of authority on partnerships with Discovery channels and programs created internationally. In their opinion, the respective partnerships should solely comply with the European Economic Area regulations and standards. They added Medietilsynet had no actual legal basis for issuing this requirement since Disney had already counter-sued the country’s Ministry of Culture and Gender Equality on the matter of ratifying the amendments to the Broadcasting Act. The lawsuit is still pending a settlement.  

TV Ads, a Culprit for Gambling Problems in Norway 

The media authority’s director Mari Velsand issued a warning to broadcasters, telling them the government will maintain August 15 as the deadline for the new rules. Velsand argued that gambling advertising on TV was a “strong contributing factor to Norwegians playing illegal gambling” prone to create a higher risk of players “developing gambling problems”. 

The authority further emphasized that ads aimed at forms of gambling that are not allowed in Norway “should be removed as soon as possible”. 

The Norwegian Gambling Authority Lottstift also criticized Altibox and Telia’s opposition to the media authority’s orders, calling Norwegian television a weak means of preventing gambling problems. Lottstift’s policy director Henrik Nordal called TV advertising “one of the reasons why there are many with gambling problems in Norway”. Even more, six out of 10 players in the country are unaware of which forms of gambling are legal and which are prohibited. Their ignorance also covers the risks associated with illegal gambling. Nordal added that the lack of gambling advertising on Norwegian TV stations will make it harder for illegal gaming companies to draw in Norwegian players. In April, the Norwegian media authority asked five TV distributors to stop foreign gambling ads.