ESA takes action against Norway on gaming machines

The Norwegian Storting (Parliament) passed a law in 2003 which introduced a monopoly for the state-owned undertaking Norsk Tipping for the operation of gaming machines in Norway. The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) now takes action against Norway.

29/03/2006 :: In their application against Norway, issued 16 March, ESA claims that this law is incompatible with Norwegian obligations under the EEA Agreement.

“I am surprised that ESA maintains this view on the issue given that the European Parliament in February this year decided not to limit the state’s freedom to pursue their own national policies on the issue of gambling”, the Minister of Culture and Church Trond Giske says, commenting on the ESA decision.

A Norwegian Appeal Court (Lagmansretten) concluded in August 2005 that the law establishing the monopoly was not contravening the EEA Agreement. The Government will use the same arguments before the EFTA Court as it did in the Norwegian court case. A final judgement is expected during the first half of 2007.

The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Education is currently working on a Norwegian reply which is due to be ready in May.
(Published 28.03.06)

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Minister of Culture and Church, Trond Giske.Photo: Ministry of Culture and Church