The Norwegian Ministry for Culture and Church Affairs has introduced strict new laws on gaming terminals operated by Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian state-owned gaming company. Under the rules, gaming machines will only be accessible to pre-registered users via prepaid cards.
In 2007, the EFTA court and the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled that Norsk Tipping could continue to be the sole operator of gaming terminals in Norway, on grounds that it seeks to limit gambling opportunities.
The new rules have been implemented to ensure that gaming terminals are socially responsible, with limits imposed to minimize problem gambling. The strict rules will include a maximum bet per game of 6 euros, with a losing limit of 50 euros per day or 275 euros per month.
The terminals will also impose a ’cooling off’ period of ten minutes on users after each hour of continuous play, and will be shut down between the hours of midnight and 7am.
By removing the cash option from gaming machines, customers will only be able to play using prepaid gaming account cards which are issued in conjunction with a ’spillkort’ (gaming card).
The gaming card is only available to Norwegian citizens over the age of 18 with a Norwegian bank account. Norsk Tippings will initially launch its testing period for the new terminals in the Hamar region of Norway at the end of June 2008, running until the end of September.
If successful, a full roll-out will begin from September 2008 in ’controllable areas’ such as bingo halls and racing tracks, as opposed to public places such as shopping malls, grocery stores or transportation centres.