Norway’s 1 trillion wealth fund is expected to remove gambling stocks from its portfolio

The Government Pension Fund of Norway, valued at $1 trillion is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. Established in the 1990s, it made large investments in oil and gas and is sometimes referred to as Norway’s oil fund. Two opposition parties, Labour Party and Christian Democrats have drafted a proposal according to which the fund is supposed to divest from gambling-related businesses. Currently, the fund’s investments in the gambling sector amount to about $3.3 billion, informs

The holdings of the fund include MGM Resorts International, an American company operating resorts in Las Vegas, New Jersey and so on. Divestment would occur as part of the annual review of the fund’s policies. Currently, the backing of the two opposition parties is not enough to gain approval. Socialist Left Party and the Center Party would also need to accept the proposal for it to take effect.

The fund is already prohibited from investing in businesses that might be involved with human rights violations. In addition, the holdings can’t include producers of tobacco products, nuclear weapons, and landmines as well as companies in the coal industry.

Currently, the gambling services in Norway are provided by two state-run entities. Any other gambling activity, including international online gaming platforms, falls out of the regulatory framework. Norwegian government began a crackdown on illegal gambling activities a few years ago. The country also refrained from the deregulatory trend in the gambling sector that was popular in the rest of Europe. An example of a legal restriction placed on gambling activities is the ban on payment service providers to carry out transactions associated with gambling companies that are not licensed in Norway.

Besides legal hindrances, the government is also trying to stifle gambling activity in other ways. For example, gambling-related advertising on television is very limited, forcing companies to find other channels to reach the customers. The recent proposal to divest from gambling firms is seen by many as a part of the government’s plan to crackdown on the sector.

Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto are two state-owned enterprises that are licensed to conduct gambling activities in the country. They offer a wide range of services, including national lottery as well as sports games. The company is managed by the Ministry of Culture and all the generated profits are invested in the country’s sport and cultural sectors. Norway does not plan to change the gambling monopoly in the country anytime soon.


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