The Government of Norway has announced that Rikstoto, a State-owned racing operator, will continue to operate as an autonomous company.
Last November the Norwegian government directed the Ministry of Culture to conduct a study of state-owned gambling properties, determining whether Rikstoto services would be absorbed by its broader Norsk Tipping lottery and wagering franchise.
The Ministry’s analysis further examined whether the state racing monopoly and pari-mutuel wagering contract for Rikstoto would be extended beyond its 2021 concession.
Minister of Culture Abid Raja reported last week that ‘the new model of gambling will continue.
Raja suggested that the decision had been taken following crucial feedback from the Ministry of Agriculture of Norway related to equestrian sports management and equine welfare.
In the consultation, Agriculture Minister Olaug Bollestad Norway claimed that Norwegian equine organisations strongly preferred racing to a ‘separate gaming company’ being operated.
“The equine environment is important to many across the country, and the horse organisations have expressed a strong desire to have their own gaming company dedicated to horseplay, said Bollestad. “We believe that the model is suitable for ensuring a responsible gambling policy for the future,” he said.
Notwithstanding Rikstoto retaining his freedom, Raja warned the operator that improvements to Norway’s gambling laws ‘improving accountability and public control of horseracing wagering’ should be enforced.
Raja and the culture ministry will make recommendations later this year.