Lottery Authority Warns Sponsorship May Result in a Breach of the Gambling Regulations

May 13, 2020 | Sports Betting

Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet is defending Norwegian teams and organizations against entering into a sponsorship agreement with illegal gambling companies. Facing collaboration with players who today knowingly violate Norwegian law can potentially result in a breach of the gambling regulations.

NORWAY  — We have received questions from teams and organizations asking if it is legal to enter into sponsorship agreements with illegal gambling companies. According to the media, several teams and organizations have already signed such agreements.

Today, the Lottery Authority has sent a letter to the Norwegian E-sports Federation and their partners on the sponsorship agreement they have signed.

Illegal gambling companies

It follows from Norwegian law that it is forbidden to offer gambling in the Norwegian market without having a license from Norwegian government, and that it is forbidden to market or disseminate gambling that does not have such a license. This is the basis of the Norwegian gambling regulations. Some claim that we in Norway have not regulated the gambling market, but the fact is that Norway has a regulation where the supervision to ensure that lottery and gambling are offered in safe and responsible forms to limit unfortunate gambling behaviour is the most important. Therefore, it is not open to license commercial gambling companies. It is only state-owned Norsk Tipping that has a license to offer online casino games and odds games in Norway. All other gambling companies that offer online gaming in Norway defy the Norwegian ban.

Several foreign gaming companies have contested this in various legal disputes with Norwegian governing powers. It is important that Norwegian teams and organizations know that both the Lottery Authority and the appeals bodies in several cases have determined that gambling activities that are adapted and arranged for players in Norway will be covered by Norwegian law when the offer is directed against Norway. This debt itself if the offer is also arranged for players in other countries. The Norwegian gambling regulations have been assessed and found in order by a number of courts, including the EFTA Court, the Oslo District Court and the Supreme Court. Then it does not help that the gaming companies have a license from governing powers in other countries to offer money games, because these will only apply where they are given. There have been no changes that would indicate that the courts would come to a different conclusion today.

Here you can see the list of gaming companies operating illegally in Norway.

Be aware of the marketing ban

The Lottery Authority has judged such sponsorship agreements, where the illegal actors indicate that legal assessments of the agreement have been made and claim that the agreement is legal.

In such cases, it is important that Norwegian teams and organizations understand that these assessments have not been made by Norwegian government authorities.

The Lottery Authority cannot see that it is possible to establish that such an agreement is legal before one has seen how he works in practice. In our opinion, this will depend on the reuse of the agreement. Norwegian teams and organizations should know that any activity that has been undertaken to promote the circulation of illegal gambling will be illegal marketing. This does not apply to traditional advertising that physically finds a city in Norway. The marketing ban also affects activity directed at Norway, whether on the Internet or other platforms. The purpose of a sponsor will usually be to generate their own turnover, but this is difficult for Norwegian teams and organizations to assist in legal way.

Grey Zone

Freedom of speech is self-evident, but be aware that protection is very low for commercial utterances. By entering into a sponsorship agreement with an illegal gambling company, they may soon end up in a situation where they will continuously operate in a gray zone between freedom of speech and illegal marketing.

The Lottery Authority encourages Norwegian teams and organizations to assess the consequences by carefully entering into such an agreement, both by putting themselves in a situation that could potentially lead to a risk of breach of the gambling regulations, and by publicly fronting cooperation with players who deliberately violate Norwegian law by to offer illegal gambling in Norway.

READ: Open letter to the Norwegian Chess Federation

SOURCE: Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet.

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