The gaming market
No official figures are available for the gaming market in 2019, but Norsk Tipping estimates that the total regulated gaming market in Norway was worth about NOK 10.5 billion, which was on a par with 2018.
Norsk Tipping’s net revenue rose slightly but was around the same level as the year before. The company’s total market share is estimated to be 65 per cent. Norsk Rikstoto’s horse racing betting saw a reduction in revenue, partly as a result of the strengthened framework for responsibility with the introduction of registered betting. In the rest of the regulated market, growth was estimated for both contractor bingo and other lotteries, which includes Postkodelotteriet and Pantelotteriet.
More customers play Norsk Tipping lotteries
Successful responsibility measure for terminal games
In terms of net revenue, slot machines are one of the world’s largest gaming categories, and many countries have substantially larger slot machine markets than Norway. The reason for this is that Norway choose to discontinue the private slot machine market because of the huge negative social costs associated with slot machines. Norsk Tipping has been the only provider of terminal games in the Norwegian market since the so-called slot machine ban was introduced in 2007. Since then, revenue in the category has dropped by 90 per cent, at the same time as the associated criminality and gambling problems have fallen sharply.
Terminal games are subject to a comprehensive and groundbreaking framework for responsibility, which was strengthened further in 2019 when Norsk Tipping introduced the use of one-time passwords for logging in. The measure has been a success and resulted in an expected fall in revenue in 2019.
Compared with 2018, Norsk Tipping saw both customer and revenue growth in the company’s sports betting and online instant games. These are the game categories facing the strongest competition from unregulated actors. While we saw stable customer numbers, the activity in the unregulated market dropped to some extent in the same period.
It is estimated that around 85 per cent all of gross gaming revenue was generated in the regulated market in 2019.
Drop in gaming adverts and calls to the Helpline continues
As in 2018, the number of calls to the Helpline fell in 2019. Compared with 2018, there were somewhat fewer calls related to casino games in 2019, although these games still account for the majority of calls to the Helpline, despite the fact that very few Norwegians play this type of online gaming.The results from the latest public survey will be published in the spring and will provide an important, updated insight into the development of problem and high-risk gaming in Norway.
Lawsuits won by the government
The Norwegian courts dealt with a number of lawsuits related to gaming in 2019:
Entercash and EGBA versus the government via the Ministry of Culture in a case concerning the prohibition against money transfers.
Trannel versus the government via the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority in a case linked to the authority’s exercise of supervision.
Norsk Lotteri AS versus the government via the Ministry of Culture concerning the validity of the current gaming model.
The government won the lawsuits in district court. The judgements have been appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Organisation of horse racing studied
In connection with the ongoing work on a new Gaming Act, the Ministry of Culture announced in November that the government would assess whether or not horse racing betting should be transferred to Norsk Tipping or retained by Norsk Rikstoto. In relation to this, Oslo Economics delivered an interim report to the Ministry of Culture in which it forecasts a negative trend for horse racing up to 2026. It has also assessed the synergies associated with any transfer of horse racing betting from Norsk Rikstoto to Norsk Tipping. The conclusion is that potential synergies could not be extracted immediately; but would emerge in the longer term.
Norsk Rikstoto’s licence for totalisator betting expires on 31 December 2021.
In April 2020, the government decided to continue the current system of two separate companies.