If you ask any expert about the legalization of gambling in Norway, they will tell you that gambling is mostly illegal in Norway.
We use the word “mostly” because there are plenty of ways to bypass the country’s ineffective and outdated laws and play real money games.
Norway does offer a handful of gambling options, but only if they support it’s gaming policy, which has three main pillars—preventing problem gambling, preventing private companies from profiting, and preventing financial irregularities.
Norway is more concerned about responsible gambling than any other Nordic country. Its lawmakers agree that real money games should be heavily regulated to prevent gambling addiction and problem gambling.
Needless to say, Norway’s gambling laws are badly in need of change but only the Minister of Culture has the power to do this.
In spite of its tough gambling laws, Norway is Europe’s third biggest gambling county and the number of Norwegians signing up at offshore online casinos and sports betting sites is on the rise.
Gambling Monopoly in Norway
Gambling is monopolized by two state-owned companies in Norway: Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping. The latter offers sports betting, lottery games, keno, and many other games of chance.
It is fully under the control of Norway’s Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, which creates gaming rules such as length of gaming sessions, timings of gambling services, betting limits, and so on. The former is the only company in Norway that can offer horse betting services.
Read also: Online Casino Regulation in the UK: Overview and Perspectives.
Gambling Laws in Norway
Norway’s gambling laws allow residents to organize not-for-profit gambling parties at private venues. The only real money games that are legal in Norway are those offered by the state-owned Norsk Tipping.
Norway wants to protect its gambling monopoly at all costs, irrespective of the European Union’s objection.
The government is taking all the required measures to prevent foreign companies from stepping into its jurisdiction.
It even went to the extent of passing a law in 2010, making it illegal for its banks to process gambling-related funds.
Although Norway cannot stop its citizens from signing up at online casinos and online poker rooms, it has made it mandatory for them to declare their gambling winnings and pay taxes.
The following are the most important gambling laws in Norway:
- The Gaming Act: Passed in 1992, this law gives Norsk Tipping the exclusive rights to offer betting on football games and lottery games under the strict supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs.
- The Lottery Act: Passed in 1995, this is a comprehensive piece of law that properly defines and describes a variety of real money games, including lottery games.This law allows private companies and individuals to run non-for-profit gaming events, organized to fund social causes.
- The Totalisator Act: Passed in 1927, this law gives Norsk Rikstoto Foundation the exclusive rights to offer horse betting services under the strict supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture.
If you are interested in gambling legally in Norway, here are a few points you must keep in mind:
- The legal age to play any real money game or place bets on sports in Norway is 18.
- MGA casino sites with Malta license are the most popular foreign casinos to play at (i.e. compared with Curacao-licensed online casinos).
- However, there is no legal age to play scratchcards.
- No foreign company can advertise their gambling products in Norway.
- Norwegian gambling companies that run their gambling businesses in foreign countries have to advertise their products and services only on foreign magazines, radios, and TV channels.
Slots in Norway
The story of slots in Norway is quite interesting. The Lottery Act of 1995 had legalized the operation of slot machine games and playing them for real money.
The law, however, was quite inadequate to deal with the developments in technology, which led to the creation of attractive five reel slot machine games with bonus features and amazing graphics.
Norwegians showed a great deal of interest in slots, and by 2004, slots were making more than NOK26 billion.
This was a huge growth compared to the smaller figure of NOK200 million in the early nineties, when slot machine games contributed to just a small part of the total turnover of the lottery gaming industry.
Since existing Norwegian laws were too weak to handle it, the slots industry grew fast and unchecked.
Although the Lottery Act permitted only charitable organizations to offer slots, it could do nothing to control private companies that offered slots for charitable organizations and retained a percentage of the profits.
This forced Norwegian lawmakers to create better laws to check the growth of the industry as it led to the rapid rise in the number of problem gamblers.
Although a bill was introduced in 2003, slots companies challenged it in court and prevented it from being passed into law. Finally, Norway banned slots in 2007 and introduced interactive video terminals in 2009.
But they did not become as popular as slots because they were not as attractive and player friendly. Moreover, players needed a card to play them.
Since Norway does not permit slots, a large number of Norwegians are showing interest in playing slots at offshore online casinos.
Read also: Online Casino Regulation in Finland: Overview and Perspectives.
Online Gambling in Norway
Although Norway has some strict gambling laws, they are not strong enough to address online gambling.
The need for effective online gambling laws is great as Norwegians are very fond of playing at online casinos. The absence of land-based casinos in Norway has further increased the popularity of online gambling.
Operators have devised their own ways of dodging the laws, staying out of the Norwegian jurisdiction, and giving the citizens of Norway exactly what they want.
Eighty percent of the Norwegian population either plays at online casinos or places sports bets online.
Norsk Tipping is aware of this and tries its best to attract players by offering online casino games and progressive jackpots.
But Norwegian players know that offshore online casinos can offer something much better in terms of games, promotions, bonuses, rewards for loyalty, and jackpots.
Norway has passed laws to make it illegal for banks to process gambling related funds, but offshore operators have found a way around this problem too.
They not only allow their Norwegian customers to play in NOK, but also provide them safe and reliable alternative payment methods.
How to Gamble Legally in Norway
If you want to play real money games online, you can either visit the Norsk Tipping website or sign up at any licensed offshore online casino that accepts Norwegian players. You just have to make sure that the operator has a license.
Licensed online casinos that accept Norwegian players support NOK and offer customer support and gaming services in Norwegian.
You can choose from a wide range of online casino, online poker and online sports betting sites.
Read also: How Online Gambling Regulated in Baltic Countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.