Norwegian gambling regulator removes 211 organisations from its register

Norway’s gambling regulator, Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet (Lottstift) has now removed 211 organisations from its register of operators who have been approved to operate lottery and bingo games for charitable purposes after they failed to meet a deadline to report their accounts.

Of those who have had their approval revoked, 51 held licences to operate lotteries and bingo for charitable purposes in Norway.

The entitles which are eligible to offer lottery and bingo for charitable purposes include aid organisations, charities, sports teams, humanitarian bodies and special interest groups. Those who have been removed from the register will now serve a six-month ‘quarantine’ period, during which they will not be able to reapply for licences.

In order to obtain a licence to operate charitable bingo in Norway, Lottstift states that the organisation must have an annual turnover of less than NKr700,000 (£62,356/€69,919/$76,690). However for lotteries, those who have a turnover of less than NKr200,000 do not require a licence, although they must submit annual reports to Lottstift. Those with a turnover above that figure must be approved by the regulator.

Lottstift have said that the suspension, which came into effect for all 211 organisations from October 1, also means that those affected will not be able to offer bingo at all in 2020. The regulator acknowledged this may represent a significant loss of income for voluntary organisations.

A total of 5,400 organisations have featured on the Lottery Register list prior to the removal of 211 companies which have failed to submit their reports.

The Lottstift ruling has come after the Norwegian Ministry of Finance in August gave its backing to a proposal from Lotteritilsynet, the national lottery authority, to make charitable lottery and bingo tournament organisers exempt from new anti-money laundering regulations.

With the proposal undergoing a consultation period until October 1, it would reduce regulatory burdens on approximately 350 teams, associations and organisations that do not rely on third-party contractors for their bingo or lottery offering to be exempt from the country’s new money-laundering regulations.

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