Norwegian authorities claim victory as Discovery follows Broadcasting Act gambling rules

Medietilsynet, Norway’s Media Authority, has informed that Discovery Europe has stopped broadcasting gambling adverts to Norwegian audiences 

Discovery had previously contested Medietilsynet orders to blackout gambling adverts, broadcast on its pan-European network of MAX, VOX, FEM and Eurosport channels. 

The conflict had seen Medietilsynet order Norwegian TV platforms Telia, Telenor, RiksTV and Altibox to terminate their broadcasts of Discovery channels by 15 August – a demand that was immediately challenged by Telia and Altibox.

The TV platforms had stated that their partnerships with Discovery were formed on an international distribution basis abiding by EEA rules, in which Medietilsynet held no authority to demand technical changes.

Furthermore, Discovery had directly appealed to Norway’s Ministry of Culture and Gender Equality to specify how international media should comply with new amendments imposed by Norway’s Broadcasting Act.

On Wednesday, Medietilsynet Director Mari Velsand announced that Discovery had agreed to respect the Broadcasting Act and would subsequently stop all gambling adverts from being broadcast in Norway.

“It is important that Discovery also follows the legislative change.” – Velsand announced.

“The advertising from the foreign gambling companies has helped to normalize the most aggressive forms of gambling via the internet, and to maintain teams and thereby legitimize an illegal offer. It has therefore been very important to stop Discovery advertising.”

Discovery’s change of stance was welcomed by Norwegian gambling authority, Lottstift ,  stating that a further advertising domain for unlicensed gambling operators had been shut down.  

Loftsift stated: “Now that Discovery has stopped broadcasting foreign gambling advertising, the Norwegian players must assess to what extent they will be present on television.”

“The situation is different when the need to compete for attention with the illegal gambling is gone,” said Lottstift Policy Director Atle Hamar.

Under Norway’s Broadcasting Act, gambling advertising is exclusively reserved for the state-owned monopolies of Norsk Tipping (lottery/betting) and Rikstoto (racing).

This week, Norsk Tipping announced that it would maintain its pledge to Medietilsynet and Lottstift to significantly reduce its TV advertising coverage, in which it will no longer promote ‘high-risk games’.

Loftsift and Medietilsynet anticipate a further drastic reduction in unlicensed gambling adverts being broadcast to national audiences, as Discovery joins Viasat Group in accepting the terms of the Broadcasting Act.

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