Browse topics

  • Governing law
    Name Law or Code?
    The Lottery Act of 24 February 1995 no. 11 ('LA') Law
    The Marketing Control Act of 9 January 2009  no. 2 ('MCA') Law
    Act of 4 December 1992 no. 127 relating to broadcasting  ('The Broadcasting Act') Law
    Act of 15 June 2018 no. 38 relating to the processing of personal data ('Personal Data Act') Law
    The Gambling Act of 28 August 1992 no. 103('Gambling Act') Law
    The Horse Gambling Act of 1 July 1927 no. 3 ('Horse Gambling Act') Law
    Regulation on prohibition of payment services for gambling of 19 February 2010 no. 184 ("Payment Regulation") Law
    Code of Ethics of the Norwegian Press (printed press, radio, television and net publications) Code

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Extra-territoriality

    Where online lotteries/gambling services are marketed by unlicensed operators to Norwegians then the Norwegian law will apply.

    The MCA applies to marketing that is directed towards Norwegian consumers or companies. This is based on a holistic evaluation, but indicators of direct marketing would be advertising in Norwegian language, use of Norwegian currency, and to what extent the company is willing to enter into contracts with Norwegians. The MCA also applies to acts and terms and conditions that take effect abroad, as long as they are also unlawful pursuant to the legislation of the country in which they take effect.

    In Norway only two state-owned companies are licensed to provide gambling and sports betting, where a prize is won after providing a stake (i.e. payment). Foreign companies may not offer or market unlicensed betting operators in Norway. It is not however illegal for Norwegians to play on these services, it is only the foreign company that is liable. Foreign companies are legally circumventing these restrictions by advertising to Norwegians on foreign TV channels where they comply with local laws, advertising through bloggers/celebrities, and foreign websites. The lottery authority has since  2016  enforced the laws more strictly against marketing carried out in Norway by for example bloggers or sports personalities. Furthermore, the lottery authority has since summer 2018 approached Apple to demand that they remove gambling apps from the Norwegian app stores, as the inclusion of gambling apps was considered to constitute facilitation of illegal gambling in Norway.

    The Payment Services Regulation prevents third parties such as banks or third party payment service providers from allowing Norwegian citizens to pay for or receive profits from unlicensed gambling through their payment services. The Lottery Authority has become stricter in its enforcement of the Payment Services Regulation.

    The Lottery Authority and the Norwegian government have raised concern over whether "loot boxes" which are common in online games are to be regulated as a form of gambling, and potentially banned. Such ban would likely have an effect on those offering both app games and console games to the Norwegian market. The government has received reports on loot boxes which they are evaluating to see if there is a need for regulation.

    Politicians in the Norwegian parliament have discussed over many years whether Norway should move away from a state controlled gambling monopoly and use a license model instead, like Denmark and Sweden. The government has requested several reports which are evaluating whether changes should be made to the system and related laws, and an updated draft gambling act is expected in autumn 2019.

    Companies can provide and market lotteries (for example raffles and bingo) for a stake where profits are going to a humanitarian or social cause, but only where they have obtained a license to do so.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Skills competitions

    Yes, but ensure:

    • The winner is picked on the basis of skill not chance; and

    • Terms and conditions are clear and easily accessible to consumers.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Prize draws

    Unlawful (potentially deemed an illegal lottery in the absence of a license), unless participants do not pay to enter or to claim/ receive a prize.

    Any payment of 2 NOK (approx. US$0.20) or above will be deemed to be payment.

    Sweepstakes related to horse racing and sports competitions are regulated by different laws. With horse racing, certain licenses are required, while gambling on sporting competitions is in principle not allowed. All other types of sweepstakes where a stake is to be paid would be considered a lottery, and would require a license to be legal.

    Game of poker where a stake is paid is considered to be an unlawful lottery, with the exception of two circumstances:

    • Where poker is played privately, between acquaintances, with maximum 10 participants and the total stake per player is not more than NOK 1,000 (approx. US$114);

    • National championships in poker that are licensed through the lottery authority.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Selection of winners

    For lotteries with annual turnover over 200,000 NOK (approx. US$23,000) the following rules apply

    In general, the lottery authority or those who it appoints must pick the prize winner where this is determined after the draw (i.e. raffle type lotteries).

    The rules regarding the prizes are slightly different based on whether the promoter is an organization/charity, or a contractor performing lottery functions on behalf of such organizations/charities. Such contractors require authorization from the lottery authority.

    Organization / charity lotteries

    For lotteries (excluding gambling) where the prize winner is chosen before the draw (i.e. scratch cards), or after the draw, then the following rules apply:

    • The main prize cannot be more than 2 Million NOK (approx. US$229,000);

    • The prizes in total must be a value of at least 25% of the total allowed turnover;

    • 20% of turnover of the lottery after allowed deductions shall go to the humanitarian cause or charity;

    • The company must provide a guarantee or security for the prize money;

    • Licenses will not be provided for lotteries with interactive draws (draws upon demand - similar to gambling).

    Contractor performed lotteries where contractor is responsible for choosing the prize winner

    For lotteries (excluding gambling) where the prize winner is chosen before the draw (i.e. scratch cards), or after the draw, then the following rules apply:

    • The main prize cannot be more than 2 Million NOK (approx. US$229,000);

    • The prizes in total must be a value of at least 25% of the total allowed turnover;

    • 50% of the turnover of the lottery after allowed deductions shall go to the humanitarian cause or charity;

    • The contractor must provide a guarantee or security for the prize money.

    For lotteries with annual turnover below 200,000 NOK (approx. US$23,000)

    The regulations are not as strict for smaller lotteries with a turnover below 200,000 NOK (approx. US$23,000). For smaller lotteries the lots must be traditional and paper based, and they cannot include scratch cards.

    For free competitions

    For free competitions, promoters must ensure that they do not market the competition incorrectly. Therefore, if there are certain rules that apply or products that are offered, then these rules must be clearly set out and the products must be available to win.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Judges

    There are no specific legal requirements, however, the company must follow any rules that they have set for the competition, and be able to prove they have followed these rules. This follows general contract and marketing law. This implies also that the judges must be independent when judging a competition.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Prizes

    The use of live animals, alcoholic beverages or tobacco as prizes is prohibited.

    The prize cannot be cash if the annual turnover of the lottery is below 200,000 NOK (approx. US$23,000), however this does not apply in relation to scratch cards and bingo. Gift cards can be used as prizes as long as they cannot be exchanged for cash.

    Otherwise, prizes awarded must be as described in a company's marketing communications.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Registration requirements and fees

    Registration Requirements

    No registration requirements apply to prize promotions (i.e. skills competitions or prize draws), other than to the extent they are lotteries for which a licence is required.

    Fees/Taxes payable

    It is the winner who may be subject to taxes. There are three categories in relation to prize promotions:

    1. Income / prizes that are not taxable regardless of their value (i.e. bingo, certain registered lotteries, horse racing)

    2. Income / prizes with a value of less than 10,000 NOK (approx. US$1,140) are not taxable (i.e. competitions, skills competitions when not related to winner's work/education, other lotteries);

    3. Fully taxable income/prizes (ie skills competitions won when closely related to the winner's work or education).

    Where the prize is taxable, it is taxable in its entirety.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Other local requirements

    Promoters must be careful with having terms and conditions that provide that contestants can be cold-called by the company or its partner, or that their details can be shared with other companies. Where this is an intention, it must be clearly stated and the marketing of the competition must not be misleading in this regard. There must also be specific consent provided for receiving such marketing communications.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Timing

    No for prize promotions (i.e. skills competitions or prize draws).

    Where a license is necessary i.e. for lotteries, then time must be factored for the lottery authority's case handling time. For smaller lotteries, a notification must be sent at least 14 days prior to the lottery being held.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Translations

    None required.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Penalties for non-compliance

    For the below penalties, the penalty is per breach.

    LA: Applicable to lotteries:

    Maximum fine: No maximum

    Average fine: 10,000 – 100,000 NOK* (approx. US$1,140 – US$11,500)

    Prison sentences: Maximum sentence of 3 years where gross negligence or wilful misconduct. A case relating to pyramid schemes led to prison sentences of 2.5 years and 1 year 9 months.

    * This is dependent on the type of breach.

    MCA (averages 2013 - 2016, 14 cases): applicable to prize promotions and lotteries:

    Maximum fine: None. Actual highest fine currently is 1.5 Million NOK (approx. US$172,000).

    Average fine total: 202,000 NOK (approx. US$23,100)

    Personal fines average: 120,000 NOK (approx. US$13,734)

    Fines to companies average: 250,000 NOK (approx. US$28,600)

    Prison sentences: Not known to have been used in the last few years. Max available by law is 6 months imprisonment.

    The government has suggested amendments to the MCA in order to give the consumer protection authority more power with regards to enforcing compliance and issuing fines.

    Data Privacy

    Finally, there is the possibility that the personal data processing aspects of the promotion could breach GDPR, which has maximum fines of up to the higher of:

    • €20 million (approx. US$22.4m); or

    • 4% of the promoter’s worldwide annual revenue. 

    In 2018 the first fine issued under the new GDPR system was set at 1,5 MNOK (approx. US$ 172,000).

    Broadcasting Act

    Maximum fine: 2 MNOK (approx. US$229,000)

    Average fine: Fine set based on how many have viewed the ad.

    Prison sentence: Max six months in accordance with law.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Restrictiveness of regulations

    The rules relating to prize promotion regulation are not very extensive, and although fines can be extreme, as long as no payment is received for prize promotions, then the applicable rules are generally common sense and not unduly onerous. However, GDPR has introduced various obligations around processing personal data which have significant application to prize promotions (e.g. use of submissions including personal data, winner publicity, etc.).  Lotteries, where a stake is paid out, require licenses which are more onerous to obtain.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Regularity of sanctions

    Prison sentences are rarely imposed, but fines can be applied. There is currently a strong focus on data protection, and recent amendments to the MCA have made it easier to fine companies immediately upon breach of the law.

    Last modified 16 Jan 2019

  • Key contacts
    Petter Bjerke
    Petter Bjerke
    Partner Advokatfirma DLA Piper Norway DA [email protected] T +47 2413 1654 View bio
    Kjetil Johansen
    Kjetil Johansen
    Partner Advokatfirma DLA Piper Norway DA [email protected] T +47 2413 1611 View bio
    Kaja Sandvig
    Kaja Sandvig
    Associate Advokatfirma DLA Piper Norway DA [email protected] T +47 2413 1628 View bio

Governing law

What are the main applicable governing laws or codes for prize promotions?

Norway

Norway

Name Law or Code?
The Lottery Act of 24 February 1995 no. 11 ('LA') Law
The Marketing Control Act of 9 January 2009  no. 2 ('MCA') Law
Act of 4 December 1992 no. 127 relating to broadcasting  ('The Broadcasting Act') Law
Act of 15 June 2018 no. 38 relating to the processing of personal data ('Personal Data Act') Law
The Gambling Act of 28 August 1992 no. 103('Gambling Act') Law
The Horse Gambling Act of 1 July 1927 no. 3 ('Horse Gambling Act') Law
Regulation on prohibition of payment services for gambling of 19 February 2010 no. 184 ("Payment Regulation") Law
Code of Ethics of the Norwegian Press (printed press, radio, television and net publications) Code