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abusing monopoly status is sure to interest the EU

Under the EU guidelines/legislation/regulations, EU member states are expected to allow gambling services from other EU members states unless they can prove the reason behind blocking them is social policy - namely protection of locals from the 'evils' of gambling. In countries like the Netherlands, this leads inevitably ends up being protect the local monopoly but ban all others - hardly social policy at all, just the protection of high margins which go directly into the state coffers.

Norway, and much of Scandinavia, attempts the same social policy - outlawing all competition in favour of the local high margin, state-owned operator Norsk Tipping. Studies around the world, in Norway and Australia in particular, have shown that problem gambling is most likely to originate from betting machines - called slots, pokies or fruit machines depending on where you live. In fact, just a few years ago, because 80% of problem gambling cases were coming from these machines, Norsk Tipping used their government links to have similar machines removed from bars and other venues in Norway - machines which were owned by charities and other companies, but not Norsk Tipping.

Fair enough, that seems to fit with social policy. But, in a 'brilliant' move from the Norsk Tipping CEO, he has now proposed to re-introduce them back into bars, all under the ownership of the state monopoly.

Sponheim wants slot machines in a pub

(Use Google Translate to read it in English if needed.)
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"Local Democracy can stop this, we know. But now we try again, and I must say it is strange that they will stop this type of machine. The limit's not the internet for its citizens, that's where the dangerous play takes place, "said Sponheim.


Yes, of course the internet is evil. In gambling monopoly CEO terms, this means "Our website is crap, our margins are high and we don't offer poker, thus all our customers will go elsewhere because the internet gives them choice and the chance to actually win something"

Talk about an abuse of social policy. Cue the legal challenges in the EU being lodged very quickly.

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