Norway’s government has confirmed that state-owned racing operator Rikstoto will continue to function as an independent entity.
Last November, the Norwegian government ordered the Ministry of Culture to undertake a review of state-owned gambling assets, assessing whether its larger Norsk Tipping lottery and wagering franchise should absorb Rikstoto services.
The Ministry’s review further evaluated whether Rikstoto’s state racing monopoly and pari-mutuel wagering contract should be extended beyond its 2021 concession.
Last week, Culture Minister Abid Raja confirmed that ‘the current gambling model will be continued’.
Raja indicated that the decision had been undertaken following vital input from Norway’s Ministry of Agriculture related to the management of equestrian sports and equine welfare.
In the consultation, Olaug Bollestad Norway’s Minister of Agriculture expressed that Norwegian equine organisations strongly preferred racing to be maintained by a ‘separate gaming company’.
“The equine environment is important to many across the country, and the horse organizations 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.”
Despite Rikstoto maintaining its independence, Raja warned the operator to expect changes to be implemented to Norway’s gambling laws ‘improving the accountability and public control of horseracing wagering’.
Raja and the Ministry of Culture will make its recommendations later this year.