Norsk Tipping to control runaway slot machine market in Norway

Norsk Tipping to control runaway slot machine market in Norway

Reidar Nordby, Jr., President and CEO, Norsk Tipping AS In an effort to improve its control over slot machine gambling, the government plans to give the national lottery company Norsk Tipping the exclusive right to operate video lottery terminals in Norway. With 19,000 slot machines for a population of 4.5 million, Norway is currently one of the most liberal countries in the area of slot machine gambling. In comparison, neighboring Sweden has only 7,500 slot machines for a population nearly twice the size of Norway's. Despite the liberal regulatory environment, violations by slot machine operators have become more frequent in recent years, and it has become more difficult to maintain the age limit of eighteen years, increasing the risk of problem gambling. In addition, contrary to the government's policy of ensuring that regulated gaming operations benefit charitable organizations, private interests receive a large proportion of the profit generated from slot machines, The government therefore plans to give Norsk Tipping exclusive rights to run VLT machines in Norway. Under the plan, the lottery company would reduce the number of machines from 19,000 to 10,000, and, by running VLTs on a not-for-profit basis, would maintain the amount of money generated for good causes. Norsk Tipping would also ensure that machines are removed from public areas and operated only in age-controlled environments. New, less aggressive VLTs would replace existing slot machines. The new machines would be network-operated to maintain close technical and financial control and provide the government with better conditions for exerting appropriate political control of the development of regulations. If the proposition passes the Norwegian parliament, Norsk Tipping will gradually take over the market between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2006. In the transitional period from 2004 until 2006, the charitable organizations that depend on income from slot machines, will be compensated through other government funds. Norsk Tipping considers the plan a sign of confidence from the government and is proud to be presented with such a task.