Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet (Lottstift), the gambling regulator of Norway removed the registrations of 211 gambling organizations. 51 of these operators were running bingo games and lottery services for charitable purposes but failed to report their accounts to the regulator on time.
Norwegian regulations allow charities, aid organizations, humanitarian bodies, special interest groups, and sports teams to run bingo and lottery operations for charitable purposes. The regulator provides licenses to such entities if they have an annual turnover of NKR 700,000 ($76,690) or less. Organizations with an annual turnover of NKR 200,000 or less do not need to apply for licenses. However, all entities with gambling operations need to submit their annual reports to the regulator.
The operators who faced punitive actions by the regulators will now undergo a quarantine period for six months. They will not be eligible for applying for new licenses during this time. The suspension has been active since October 1 and will cause a loss of income for the organizations on a significant scale. The regulator’s Lottery Register featured 5,400 entities before the removal of the 211 operators.
The new lottery supervisory of the country, Lotteritilsynet proposed to make bingo tournament organizers and lottery operators exempt from the existing anti-money laundering regulations. The Norwegian finance ministry backed this proposal in August. Both support the fact that charitable gambling operations are far less risk-prone to money laundering and other abuses as compared to other businesses.
The consultation period of the proposal lasted until October 1. If the government decides in favour of AML rule removal, about 350 organizations running charitable gambling operations will be relieved from some regulatory and compliance burdens. These organizations do not use third-party contractors for running their lottery and bingo offerings. Details of these new rules may be available soon.