The proposal for a legislative amendment by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture to prohibit the advertising of gambling by operators on the high seas could significantly affect the income and programming of the country’s broadcasting stations, as revealed by a report by Oslo Economics.
According to the report backed by the Norwegian government, revenues could fall by NOK500m, if the proposal made earlier this year is approved. Until now, unlicensed operators present advertisements on television stations taking advantage of the existing legal vacuum.
However, Lotteri og stiftelsestilsynet, the Norwegian gambling regulator, announced that it has plans to cover this legal vacuum soon. Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian state-owned gambling operator, which does not announce its casino games on national television, also said it will support this initiative after reporting a growing number of troubled players using their online games.
The Oslo Economics report has warned of the negative impact of the approval and enforcement of regulations for finance and the contents of the broadcasters that are financed with such announcements.
Among the stations that could be affected are Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) and Discovery Networks Norway (DNN), whose annual income from gambling advertising abroad is around NOK500m (£ 46.4m / € 50.1m / $ 56.1 m). Both stations are among the 4 largest in the country.
The net income losses would be produced not only by the ban on the advertising of casino games, but also because the radio stations would necessarily have to lower their commercial rates which would result in an annual loss that would range between NOK250m and NOK500m.
Consequences of the measure
The decrease in advertising revenue would mean a limitation for investments of television stations in new content intended to capture more viewers, thus affecting their audience levels. Among the affected programming offer, there would be advertising sponsorship of the main sporting events, according to the study.
But the negative impact of the ban on gambling advertising would not be limited only to the broadcasting stations that broadcast these ads, but to the offer of television programming in general in Norway, as it would affect the competitiveness between the stations that broadcast the ads and those that don’t, the Oslo Economics revealed.
By DNN and NENT spending less on content and reducing its programming offer, TV2 Norway’s private television channel would strengthen its competitiveness and gain an advantage over both stations. TV2 does not broadcast gambling ads.
On the controversy, Trine Skei Grande, the Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, said that “there has been a lot of noise around the proposal” and noted that it is important to consider the “possible consequences”, although he pointed out that “take care of those who fighting with the problem of the game should weigh more. ”
“We are committed to facilitating Norwegian production of content and television, but this must be resolved by means other than advertising gambling,” she said.
Line Vee Hanum, director of communications for NENT, was skeptical about the process being carried out by the Ministry of Culture, which he described as “chaotic” and said that the proposal to ban the advertising of gambling in broadcasting stations is not in Count the possible consequences.
For his part, Espen Skoland, DNN’s communications director, supported Hanum’s opinion and said
“crafts are rarely good.”
He added that
“the report, unfortunately, confirms what we feared.”
The Ministry of Culture said it will be receiving comments related to the report until August 31 and after reviewing them, it will decide the actions to be taken.