Norsk Tipping, the state-owned Norwegian operator is toying with a radical idea – they’re thinking that the introduction of money into the political ecosystem, at any level, is a bad idea. To that end, the operator is refusing to take action on local political races in Norwegian elections later in the fall.

Putting integrity over money over money can be difficult, especially for businesses and governments, but this is one of those rare cases when a large organization is doing exactly that. Norsk Tipping’s decision to stay out of state and local elections comes after a warning from Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet, the Norwegian government’s gambling regulator, that local media should avoid reporting the odds on political races as offered up by local oddsmakers.

Norsk Tipping’s Director of Communications, Tonje Sagstuen summed up the decision to comply saying in a statement reported on by saying, “It would be possible to [offer odds on the elections], but there are many good reasons not to. The most important thing is that if money is at stake on the outcome of local elections, it can affect both the election and its result in a number of ways.”

“It could affect how you vote yourself [and] it allows for…manipulation,” she explained. “In other words, gambling can affect, directly or indirectly, who gets into power in your municipality.”

Sagustuen went on to explain that the ban was only on local elections and that national and foreign elections were still fair game. Some of Norway’s municipalities are so small, she pointed out, that reporting on the odds in those elections could wind up having a huge impact on the final outcome of local races. It would be “impossible” to impact larger races via gambling odds, she added.


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