Norway‘s gambling regulator, Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet (Lottstift), said it is illegal to include in its contents gambling advertising offered by unlicensed operators and warned newspapers that they should take steps to avoid it.
Lottstift noted that the issue arose from the coverage of the Norwegian municipal elections, and explained that it was recently detected that 49 newspapers included in their stories the coverage of probabilities related to the vote of citizens in favor of older women.
Unlicensed operators are not allowed to advertise their services in Norwegian media. Lottstift, communicated with all the newspapers in the country and informed them about the regulations in force in this matter and asked them that in the future they should take more effective measures in order to block the advertising of illegal operators.
Lottstift department director Henrik Nordal explained:
“Making Norwegian publications write about their game offers is one of the methods that illegal game companies use to gain publicity and create a new brand.”
Nordal said they do not intend to intervene in the editorial line of newspapers “but we will urge Norwegian publishers to realize this and be critical when writing articles dealing with illegal betting companies.”
The Norwegian regulator also detected earlier this year that unlicensed operators also use press releases to promote their brand in Norway. Lottstift, then ruled that such publications also violated regulations.
“We have not supervised or conducted specific assessments on whether the articles on the probabilities of gaming companies for mayoral candidates in the election campaign are a violation of the commercialization ban,” Nordal said.
And he added that:
“However, the way they are designed gives us a basis for informing Norwegian newspapers about the regulations. This can make publishers who receive press releases from illegal gaming companies think twice.”
Lottstift sees this type of newspaper ads with concern when considering that if they continue to publish them, it will be increasingly difficult for consumers in the country to distinguish between the advertising of licensed and unlicensed operators.
Henrik Nordal considered that:
“When the media covers these stories, they help legitimize illegal gambling companies and their illegal activity directed at Norwegians.”
He also said that:
“The company is mentioned without the reader being informed that it is an illegal actor in Norway, and it is already true that six out of ten Norwegians do not know or are not sure who can offer real money games in Norway.”