The Media Complaints Board will process the complaints after the Norwegian Media Authority has now chosen to uphold its decision to stop gambling advertising on television. Two of the five television distributors who were ordered to stop advertising have appealed against the decisions.
Earlier this spring, the Norwegian Media Authority ordered the television distributors Telenor, Telia, Altibox, RiksTV and Allente to stop the marketing of the gambling games Unibet, Betsson, Nordicbet and Betsafe on Discovery’s television channels FEM, MAX, VOX and Eurosport Norge. Two of the five distributors, Telia and Altibox, have complained about the decisions. While Telia complained about the decision itself, Altibox complained about the timing of when gambling advertising must be stopped.
– Complaints are first processed by the Norwegian Media Authority. We have come to the point that we will maintain our decisions, and then the cases will proceed to the Media Complaints Board, says Director Mari Velsand of the Norwegian Media Authority.
The Norwegian Media Authority has refused requests for deferred implementation
Both distributors who complained have asked that the decisions should not be implemented until the complaints have been processed by the Media Complaints Board or in the courts. This has been rejected by the Norwegian Media Authority.
– Although the parties have a legitimate need to test the validity of the decisions and the relationship with EEA law, we have considered that consideration for the problem players must weigh more heavily. Such advertising is a major contributing factor to Norwegians playing illegal gambling, which gives a high risk of developing gambling problems. As the matter now stands, we believe that there is no reason to postpone the implementation of the decisions. Advertising on television for gambling that is not permitted in Norway should be removed as quickly as possible, says Velsand.
If the distributors do not comply with the decisions by 15 August this year, they risk a compulsory fine in the form of a specific amount that must be paid for each day the order is not complied with.
Discovery has taken the state to court
The rule in the Broadcasting Act, which enables the Norwegian Media Authority to order Norwegian distributors to stop gambling advertising aimed at Norwegian television viewers, entered into force on 1 January 2021.
In contrast to NENT Group, which stopped sending gambling advertising from this point, Discovery did not want to comply with the Norwegian marketing ban. Discovery has now summoned the state at the Ministry of Culture and Equality to court, because the company believes that the Norwegian Media Authority’s decision against the five Norwegian distributors contravenes EEA law and is therefore invalid.
Facts about gambling advertising which is prohibited under Norwegian law
- According to gambling legislation, which the Norwegian Lottery and Foundations Authority administers, it is forbidden to market gambling that does not have a permit in Norway.
- From 1 January 2021, a new rule was introduced in the Broadcasting Act, which makes it possible for the Norwegian Media Authority to order Norwegian distributors to prevent or make difficult access to the marketing of gambling that is in violation of Norwegian law on television and in audiovisual ordering services.
- The Norwegian Media Authority can only issue an order to prevent gambling advertising if there are contractual or technical possibilities to prevent or make access to the marketing more difficult, and if an order is proportionate.
- Earlier this spring, the Norwegian Media Authority ordered the television distributors Telenor, Telia, Altibox, RiksTV and Allente to stop the marketing of the gambling games Unibet, Betsson, Nordicbet and Betsafe on Discovery’s television channels FEM, MAX, VOX and Eurosport Norge. The distributors have until 15 August this year to stop gambling advertising.
- In total, gambling companies spent NOK 582 million on television advertising aimed at Norwegian viewers from August 2020 to July 2021. Foreign gambling companies, which do not have a license in Norway, accounted for 72 percent of all gambling advertising measured in NOK and 85 percent of the total number of gambling advertisements on Norwegian TV screens in this period, figures from Nielsen Media Research show.
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