OSLO, Norway, March 14 (UPI) -- Norway may establish a gambling monopoly in an effort to control problem gambling, a European Free Trade Association panel said Wednesday.
The tribunal supported the Norwegian position that a gambling monopoly does not violate the European Economic Area agreement, Oslo's Aftenposten newspaper reported.
"The ruling is first and foremost a victory for problem gamblers and the struggle against problem gambling as a national health burden," said Minister of Culture and Church Affairs Trond Giske.
Norwegian Lottery and Slot Machine Association Chairman Ottar Dalset said his machine-making group did "not think that it will help problem gamblers much if our machines are simply replaced by those of Norsk Tipping," Norway's gambling agency.
The industry plans to take the matter to the Norwegian Supreme Court, Dalset said.
The European Free Trade Association is an alternative for European states that were not allowed or did not wish to join the European Union. Of seven original states, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein remain members.