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Surprise! Norwegian gambling ad ban unpopular with broadcasters

Gambling operators across Europe and the United Kingdom are under siege from lawmakers who think that certain industries are just too dangerous to be running advertisements to the general public. Their concern, they say, is that operators are enticing and inducing perfectly innocent people into a life of debauched and compulsive gambling.

While concern over problem gambling is legitimate, the percentage of citizens of any one country that are actually impacted by the issue is actually pretty small. In Norway, for example, about 1.4 percent of the population are problem gamblers. That’s up from a few years ago when only .9 percent of the population couldn’t keep a lid on their gambling. Despite the small numbers, the Norwegian government is looking to place a ban on online gambling advertising (and if they can prop up government gaming monopolies along the way, all’s the better.

That pronouncement isn’t sitting too well with the Discovery Networks Norway, which is owned by a Swedish company, on the grounds that it violates the European Union’s free trade ideals. Specifically, Discovery is saying that Norway can’t put a block on advertising by a Swedish company. That, in Discovery’s view, is a major violation. Though they make a strong argument on paper, they also claim that the economic impact is less than $100,000 USD.

Regardless, the company is moving ahead with the lawsuit, which is just one of many that gambling operators are bringing against European governments as they clamp down on the marketing techniques used by companies across the EU and UK.