When it comes to gambling, Norway has some of the strictest gambling regulations in Europe and the rest of the world. The country maintains a tight grip on gambling both online and offline to ensure players only partake in responsible gambling.
The Norwegian Gambling Market is one of the few with the biggest growth potential. Even so, it seems the government is still against developing the online market to its full potential.
When looking at the gambling laws on paper it might come across as worse than it really is. There are only two legal betting sites in Norway and they don’t offer the best odds or gaming selection. When you take a look at the gambling regulations and the reality of online gambling you’ll notice that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
State Monopoly of Gambling
In an effort to stay on top of all things gambling, the Norwegian Gaming Market is dominated by two state owned companies, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. These two companies have national monopoly over the larger part of the gambling market which includes gambling and horse racing. Norsk Rikstoto can be used for horse racing and Norsk Tipping for lotteries, sports betting, poker, keno and scratch card games.
Norsk Tipping AS (Norsk Tipping) is owned entirely by the Ministry of Culture. Any and all profits generated by their gambling activities are flushed back into the country through socially beneficial causes.
Norsk Rikstoto is an independent foundation that was established by the Norwegian Trotting Association and the Norwegian Jockey Club. Most of the profits generated from their gambling activities are pushed back into the equine sector. As per the Gaming Scheme Act and the Totalisator Act, these two operators have exclusive rights to providing the majority of legal gambling activities in Norway. They are also the only entities who are legally allowed to provide online gambling services.
In short, the Norwegian Gambling legislation is merely a state monopoly that gives Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping exclusive rights to providing the majority of online gambling and land-based gambling activities.
However, private operators do have the right to apply for a lottery operating license but this is strictly limited. Commercial operators are deemed ineligible to request the full gaming license from the Gaming Authority.
The Rise of Slots
Back in the 1990’s private operators were allowed to place slot machines almost anywhere. Public places such as grocery stores, bars, hotels and gas stations were the most popular places to find a slot machine. While back then the slot machines revenue only brought in 200 million NOK, the gross turnover from the slot machines skyrocketed to 9 billion NOK in 2001 and 26 billion NOK in 2004.
In 2004, 64% of the total gambling industry turnover in Norway was brought in by slot machines. Instead of embracing and developing the potential of these slots, the Norwegian government instead opted to limit slot availability.
Eventually all slot machines were banned and replaced by MultiX slots in 2008. These slots strictly monitor all information of the players and can’t be played without an account or access card. This allows the government to monitor players, their losses, wins and prevent possible gambling problems. All revenue from the slot machines is then used for charitable purposes. The thought behind it all might be noble but the limited gaming availability and pay-out amounts drive most players towards offshore gaming sites.
The Payment Act
In an attempt to prevent and block online gambling on foreign gambling sites, Norway implemented the Payment Act in 2010. As stated in the act banks are not allowed to let customers use their credit or debit cards for any land-based or online casino activities outside of the country. The main reason for the implementation of this Act was to try and prevent gambling addictions.
With modern day technology and e-wallet solutions readily available, players can easily play online if they should feel the need to do so. The Payment Act was inspired by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 that was implemented by the US over a decade ago.
Norway is known as one of the countries with the strictest gambling regulations. They maintain a firm grip on all gambling activities to ensure responsible gambling. Where many countries focus on taxing gambling providers, Norway requires tax to be paid on all gambling winnings.
The requirement is mainly put in place with the aim to target poker players but it still includes all types of gamblers. It is even stipulated in the Norwegian law that even gambling winnings earned overseas must be declared as they are also subject to tax.
Truth be told, players gambling in Norway are under incredibly strict rule and whether they do it locally or internationally they will be taxed.
The Legality of Online Gambling in Norway
According to the Norwegian Gambling legislation and regulation it is illegal to gamble anywhere other than the state-owned facilities. In reality, there are many offshore gaming sites that allow Norwegian citizens access to their online gaming offering. Some of these sites even process transactions in Norwegian Krones and present the games in Nynorsk and Bokmal. While these offshore operators might be doing so illegally in Norway they are fully licensed and operate under strict laws.
Technically it is illegal to bet at any of these unlicensed sites but it is very rare for the government to follow up and hunt you down. The biggest problem most Norwegian gamblers face is the restriction of credit and debit card transactions. However, using any of the trustworthy e-wallet solutions like Skrill, Euteller or Neteller is becoming increasingly popular.
While the Norwegian authorities will heavily fine any unlicensed operator they do not pursue citizens, who place bets on any of the foreign sites. You can enjoy all the latest and best gaming entertainment without worrying about the law.
Before you rush to sign up at the first online casino you find, first take a look at our list of Top Online Casinos. These casinos have all been researched, reviewed and approved by our team. With the strict laws against gambling there will be no support if you’ve run into a scam site. This is why it is best to play at sites deemed safe and trustworthy.