The legality of online casinos and their games sit in a grey area for Norway and their players. The current 2008 law known as the ‘Payment Act’* doesn’t ban online casinos, but the transaction of money from offshore banks to Norwegian players.
There are two legal avenues for gambling in Norway, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. Norsk Tipping controls lotteries and sports betting, while Norsk Rikstoto oversees horse racing and betting. Online alternatives for savvy players with bitcoin are available and easy to peruse at norske bettingsider.
Benjamin Reppersen is our expert in all things betting and will help guide us through the current state of online gambling in Norway.
Legality and Legislation
Operating any casino outside of Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto is illegal. This is under the 1992 Gaming Act and the 1995 Lottery Act. In 2007, laws grew to include the banning of slot machines, which were later replaced by interactive video terminals.
The government has struggled to police these bans for years. Yet offshore online casinos still advertise to the Norwegian audience. With regulations blocking ISPs nowhere in sight, online gambling remains legal. So long as the site isn’t produced on Norway’s shores, it’s free to peruse by any player.
For those uncomfortable playing in the grey area, gambling alternatives do exist for native players.
Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto
Two companies make up the gambling monopoly on Norway’s shores, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. Norsk Tipping is a state-owned gambling institution supporting lotteries, sports bets, and Keno. They are overseen by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture (NMC) and have been in business since 1948.
Norsk Riksoto is a more recent player to the gambling game, opening its doors in 1982 and securing animal-based betting rights in 1996. This state-owned institution is overseen by the Norwegian Trotting Association and the Norwegian Jockey Club. It’s best known for all things horse racing and gambling.
Pros and Cons of Online Casinos
Despite regulations and physical alternatives, online casino gambling remains popular. Yet, that doesn’t make online gambling a struggle-free option.
Online casino companies see the Norwegian gambling base’s need for slots and are eager to provide their services. Online casino marketing strategies have many ways of attracting Norwegian players. They offer special bonuses in NOK, free spins, gameplay bonuses on sign up, and native language friendly options.
Online casinos play for real money and cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency acts as a popular loophole payment. It exists in a digital e-wallet, so the same restrictions and fees don’t trap it like a regional currency. It moves in large batches faster than regular currencies and is easier than ever to exchange for physical goods and services. Some online casinos are crypto-exclusive, making gameplay more accessible than ever for those holding an e-wallet.
Offshore online casinos store a wide variety of games, more than what is currently offered in the state-run alternatives. Significant companies like Microgaming, Play’n’Go, Playtech, and more offer their best games to a worldwide audience. This means players worldwide will never have a shortage of great games to play.
The Payment Act has made the moving of online funds to and from overseas locations a struggle. This makes it hard to deposit or cash out in your favourite casinos and could have the transaction pulled altogether. Even sites operating in Norwegian don’t guarantee NOK as an acceptable payment method.
Though Bitcoin is a popular alternative, it’s expensive and still waiting to be accepted as a payment method for many online casinos. Other cryptocurrencies are a possibility but run the same validity risk.
Gambling addiction is a severe mental illness and can cause significant financial and emotional harm. Without rules guiding Norwegian players into safe and secure gambling habits, they play at their own risk.
Whether you are for or against the current state of the online casino industry and its presence in Norway, it’s unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon. Keep these pros and cons in mind next time you pass by an ad for slots. When in doubt, remember horse racing always has your back.