Norway media ordered to comply Discovery TV gambling blackout 

Norwegian gambling authority Lottstift has praised media counterpart Medietilsynet for upholding its decision to continue to ban gambling advertising on all TV formats. 

The Norwegian media authority will not review its gambling advertising policies, despite complaints from media broadcasters Telia and Altibox. The firms have urged for rules to be revised as they apparently contradict EEA broadcasting standards.

The complaints were submitted following an order by Medietilsynet that Norwegian media firms Telia, Altibox, RiksTV and Allente should stop all broadcasts of Discovery TV channels/programmes which feature gambling advertisements or sponsorships.

Following amendments to Norway’s ‘Broadcasting Act’, national broadcasters were ordered to revise their programme schedules of Discovery TV channels (Eurosport, MAX, VOX and FEM) – a demand that must be complied with by 15 August.

Telia and Altibox protested that their TV services had been severely restricted, and that Medietilsynet should have no authority on broadcast partnerships with Discovery that were formed on an international distribution basis adhering to EEA rules.

The broadcasters further cited that Medietilsynet had no legal justification for its command, as Disney has counter-sued Norway’s Ministry of Culture and Gender Equality for ratifying amendments to the Broadcasting Act – a lawsuit that is yet to be settled.  

Mari Velsand, Director of Medietilsynet, warned broadcasters that the government would maintain its 15 August deadline to comply with new rules.  

“Such advertising is a strong contributing factor to Norwegians playing illegal gambling, which gives a high risk of developing gambling problems,” Velsand warned operators.   

“As the case now stands, we believe that there is no basis for postponing the implementation of the decisions. Advertising on television for gambling that is not allowed in Norway should be removed as soon as possible.” 

Lottstift criticised Telia and Altibox’s opposition to Medietilsynet’s orders, stating that Norwegian TV had become a weak spot for the prevention of gambling disorders.  

“TV Advertising is one of the reasons why there are many with gambling problems in Norway,” said Henrik Nordal, Policy Director of Lottstift.

“Six out of 10 Norwegians do not know or are unsure of which gambling is allowed and not in Norway. It also means that many do not know about the risks involved in playing with these companies.

“Without gambling advertising on television, it will be more difficult for the illegal gaming companies to recruit Norwegian players. It is no wonder that many Norwegians believe that these companies are legal when they see their TV commercials.”

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