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The Borgarting Court of Appeal in Oslo has ruled that the exclusive gambling rights system in Norway, which sees Norsk Tipping act as the only licensed operator for most forms of gambling, is not in contravention of a European Economic Area (EEA) monopoly agreement.

According to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which is the intergovernmental organisation covering Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, the EEA Agreement ensures equal rights and obligations within the Internal Market for companies and people in the EEA.

As things stand, in Norway, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Risotto hold monopolies on the regulated gambling markets.

This, according to lottery operator Norsk Lotteri AS which brought the case to court in 2018 after applying for a gambling licence in the jurisdiction, is in contravention of the EEA Agreement.

The court disagreed, ruling that the monopoly may be maintained, as it does not constitute a breach of Article 31 of the EEA Agreement, which states there “shall be no restrictions on the freedom of establishment of an EC member state or an EFTA state in the territory of these states”.

Norway’s exclusive rights model, the court concluded, was suitable for channeling players to a more responsible gaming offer, therefore helping to reduce the extent of gambling problems.

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