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Online Gambling In Norway

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Online gambling in Norway is a much talked about topic, and once you learn the facts, it’s easy to see why. Norwegian gamblers have been left feeling frustrated and somewhat confused when it comes to the rules and regulations around online gambling. Let’s explain.

Regulations And Laws For Gambling In Norway

Norway has some of the strictest rules and laws in Europe when it comes to gambling. The government has ensured that all land-based and online gambling in Norway is strictly regulated and provided only by two state-owned companies, Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping. This has created a monopoly in the gambling industry in Norway which has been met by tensions and dissatisfaction from Norwegian gamblers. These two companies offer sports betting, lottery games, scratch card games, poker, and Keno. While this might be satisfactory for some gamblers, it is extremely limiting for others that want to gamble on slots and other games not offered in their country. Below is a summary of some of the laws and regulations set out by the Norwegian government with regards to gambling to date;

Totalisator Act of 1927: 

This Act saw the birth of legal horse race betting and gave the sole rights of wagering to Norsk Rikstoto.

The 1992 Gaming Scheme Act:

This allows Norsk Tipping exclusivity in providing lottery services and also some sports betting services.

2008 Ban of Slots:

By 2008, although previously legal in Norway, slots were banned entirely due to the previous rise in revenue generated by slot games. Although some might think that the revenue generated by slots coupled with some of the profits going towards charities would be a good cause for the government to continue, they saw the rise in revenue as a potential threat to their citizens developing gambling addictions and problems. Therefore, their solution was to ban slots altogether. The ban of slots meant that the government would also ban its citizens from playing at foreign online casino sites.

2010 Payment Act: 

Because Norwegians were desperately seeking alternative gambling options to those offered in their country, many of them started playing at foreign online casinos for more variety. In reaction to this, the government passed a law whereby Norwegian banks are instructed to block any transactions to unfamiliar online casino sites. Despite the stringent rules and regulations put in place, Norwegian gamblers are still gambling online at foreign casino sites, and here’s how they do it.

The Grey Area: Norwegians Gamblers And Foreign Online Casino Sites

Online Gambling In Norway

Seeking more excitement and variety in casino games has made it commonplace for Norwegians to join and gamble at foreign online casinos.

In Norway, on the one hand, online gambling is legal, but on the other, it is also illegal, and here’s where the grey area comes in. It’s technically illegal for their citizens to play online at foreign casino sites, yet foreign online casinos are still allowed to accept players from Norway on their sites. Norway is not a part of the EU member states which means that they have not been able to put any ‘legal’ control in place within European Gambling Commissions to curb foreign sites from accepting Norwegian players. The long and short of it is that foreign online casinos allow Norwegians to open accounts because they are not technically breaching any laws in the jurisdictions under which they operate.

Norwegian gamblers are still happily signing up and playing on foreign sites. While most know this is not allowed, they do so anyway because of the loopholes within the regulations. The 2010 Payments Act has made it trickier for Norwegians to make deposits and withdrawals, but it’s not impossible. Many gamblers are now using things such as e-wallets instead of direct bank transactions. The ever-growing popularity of using Cryptocurrency on online casino sites is also another way in which Norwegian gamblers can make deposits and withdrawals. 

The Consequences For Norwegians Gamblers

Up until now, Norwegians have been playing online at foreign casinos with very little or even no consequences. The government has found it quite challenging to track players and their use of these sites. While some people have gotten into some trouble for playing online at foreign sites, they are often not the target for the government. The casino sites are. The foreign operators will usually receive a hefty fine as a penalty.

Due to the fact that the Norwegian government has not been able to stop its citizens from gambling on overseas sites successfully, they have submitted a revised framework of their gambling legislation to the European Commission, which should be passed by the end of summer 2021. This framework seeks to pull together all 3 of the previous laws instituted so that they can work together more efficiently to track and stop gambling on foreign sites. What does this mean for Norwegian gamblers? Not much. Things will pretty much stay the same for the players and them being able to access foreign casino sites. The only thing that will change is that the government will be stricter with casino sites that they know are recruiting Norwegian players and now have more human resources to track and stop them. 

Gamblers Will Always Gamble

The Norwegian government’s rules and regulations surrounding gambling have come under some scrutiny. People feel that they are focusing too much on one aspect of gambling, namely addiction. While this is not to be taken lightly, it is not a uniform experience, and there are loads of gamblers that play responsibly. Some feel that instead of restricting Norwegians access to foreign casino sites, they should focus more on allowing their citizens to access legitimate sites, which focus on fair gaming and that handle addiction seriously. There are plenty of online sites out there like Gate777, BetZest, and CasinoLuck that offer players safe and fair gaming as well as gambling addiction contacts and support.

The fact is that gamblers will always gamble. Instead of trying to stop gambling on foreign sites entirely for those that do it responsibly, it might be better to take a different approach by ensuring that all are safe and can get the help and support that they need if and when necessary.

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