Norway Gets Tough On Gambling Machines
By Staff
In Norway, the Ministry for Culture and Church Affairs has imposed some of the world's strictest rules on video gambling machines in a drive to reduce the number of compulsive gamblers.

Under the new regulations, all gaming machines operated by Norsk Tipping AS, the Norwegian State-owned gaming company, will only be accessible to pre-registered users via prepaid cards from September.

'There will be limits on how much an individual can lose, they will be closed at night and there will be a cooling-off period after one hour of continuous play,' said Trond Giske, Minister for Culture and Church Affairs.

The Government had grown increasingly concerned about the rising number of Norwegians reportedly addicted to gambling machines and banned all privately owned machines in July while it looked for ways of better regulating them. Following the ban, the number of people telephoning a national gambling help line plunged from 2,276 in 2004 to 330 this year.

The Government stated that the new terminals would be remote-controlled and strictly regulated to prevent people from developing a gambling problem. In addition, the machines will not take cash or credit cards and can only be used with a prepaid card sold by Norsk Tipping to registered players over the age of 18.

The system will also limit the amount that can be bet per game to ten dollars and set a loss limit of $80 per day and $440 per month per player even if they have more than one card.

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