The Norwegian Ministry of Children and Families has proposed a bill that would exempt gambling from Norway’s Right of Withdrawal Act. The bill also includes measures to correct inaccuracies in the scope of the Act.
Norway Considers Amendments to Right of Withdrawal Act for Gambling Contracts
The Right of Withdrawal Act of 2014 governs agreements between consumers and traders entered into in connection with distance selling or sales away from business premises. The Act provides requirements for the information that the trader must provide before a contract is concluded and gives the consumer 14 days to withdraw from the contract without providing any reasons. The Act implemented the EU’a Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU) in Norwegian law.
The EU directive, however, does not apply to contracts for gambling. Yet, when transposing the EU legislation, Norway extended the scope of the Right of Withdrawal Act to gambling to increase consumer protection for those who bet, buy lottery tickets, or participate in other gambling activities, primarily over the internet. This solution has been deemed unfortunate and difficult to implement.
As a result, the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs sent a proposal for amendments to the Right of Withdrawal Act for consultation on September 8, 2022. The Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gambling (NBO) was one of the entities that responded to the consultation.
Norwegian Industry Association for Online Gambling Responds to Right of Withdrawal Act Consultation
As per NBO’s statement, the organization acknowledges the Ministry’s intention to revise the Right of Withdrawal Act to better suit the modern-day gambling environment. NBO reiterates the core principle of the Norwegian gambling policy, which is to promote safe and controlled gambling practices that are subject to public regulation.
However, NBO has raised concerns that the proposed changes may not necessarily achieve this objective. To effectively channel gambling activities towards safer options, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto must offer games that are both user-friendly and competitive.
H2 Gambling Capital’s estimate suggests that non-Norwegian-regulated companies channelled 67% of online gambling in Norway in 2021. Online gambling is also gradually gaining a larger share of the overall Norwegian gambling market.
However, it is important to note that these operators are not necessarily unregulated and do not necessarily have fewer accountability measures in place. At the Gaming Conference in Gjøvik in June 2022, both ComeOn Group and Kindred Group showcased their approach to monitoring and following up on players displaying problematic behavior.
Spelfriheten, a Swedish organization, demonstrated how working together can be more effective in combating problem gambling through licensing regulations. These regulations, according to Swedish authorities, have led to better market control, consumer protection, and revenue protection.
NBO has encouraged Norwegian authorities to take note of the changes in Sweden after switching from an exclusive rights model to a licensing model. Although the number of problem gamblers in Sweden has remained stagnant, it continues to rise in Norway.