Norway is a Scandinavian country with one of the strictest gambling laws in the world. On the territory of the state, only some areas of gambling are allowed, and all of them are strictly controlled by the authorities using three basic laws: on lotteries, on betting on sweepstakes and on games.
Only two companies have official permission to provide gambling entertainment: Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. However, their main activity is not casinos, but the organization of horse races, keno draws and betting on sports events. Land-based casinos in Norway have never been, no, and they are not expected to be created.
Currently, there are about 1,200 places open throughout Norway where you can play MULTIX slots. The total number of modified machines is about 2 750 pieces. To play them, you must have an account, an appropriate credit card and proof of age – at least 18 years old.
As far as online gambling is concerned, by law there are only two official sites on which Norwegians are allowed to play:
- Norsk Riskoto website – allows you to place bets on horse races;
- Norsk Tipping site (KongKasino) – Offers lotteries, sports betting, online slots, poker, keno and scratch cards.
Despite such strict restrictions, Norway is in third place in the number of gamblers in Europe. A large number of online casinos and entertainment portals around the world welcome Norwegians.
Features of the regulation of the gambling business in Norway
Until the 20th century, there was not a single casino in Norway. All this time, most types of gambling were considered illegal. Only in 1927 the authorities adopted the bill “On sweepstakes” and for the first time created a legal precedent for the legalization of the gambling industry.
Exactly 20 years later (in 1947) the state-owned company Norsk Tipping was created, which at that time specialized exclusively in organizing lotteries. In 1992, following the Law on Games, this company was transferred monopoly control over all lotteries, sports betting, and other permitted gambling. Today Norsk Tipping controls games via mobile apps and the internet. However, in order to gain access to the content of the state monopoly, players need to go through the registration procedure and receive a Playcard.
Norsk Rikstoto is a younger company in the Norwegian gambling market. It was created in 1982 to legally launch the V6 tote. Since 1996 the company has been legally entitled to conduct all sweepstakes in Norway.
The following types of gambling are allowed on the territory of the state:
- scratch games;
- betting on horse racing;
- IVT – interactive video terminals;
Gambling legislation in Norway
The entire gambling industry in Norway is governed by three pieces of legislation:
- Totalisator Act 1927
- Gaming Act 1992;
- Lottery Act 1995.
According to these laws, state-owned companies Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto hold exclusive rights to provide most types of offline and online gambling. Although there is a strictly limited right for private operators to apply for a license to organize lotteries and gambling. However, they are not eligible to require a full license.
Norwegian law prohibits the provision of any form of gambling without an appropriate license. Interestingly, the citizens themselves are not prohibited from participating in unlicensed gaming activities. That is, it is not a crime for Norwegians to visit sites that do not have a gambling license.
Persons under the age of 18 are strictly prohibited from taking part in any form of gambling, except for scratch cards.
The gambling business in Norway is controlled by four authorities:
- Norwegian Gaming Authority – Responsible for the supervision and control of private operators. It issues and revokes licenses, certificates and permits for gambling activities, and also imposes administrative sanctions for violation of the relevant legislation;
- Ministry of Culture – regulates the effect of legislative acts “on lottery” and “on games”. Also, this regulator may issue general instructions for gambling;
- Ministry of Agriculture and Food – monitors the implementation of the sweepstakes law and issues general instructions applicable to gambling;
- The Lottery Committee (Lotterinemnda) is an independent administrative body appointed by the Ministry of Culture. He is the court of appeal for administrative decisions under the Lottery Law.
Conditions for obtaining a license in the gambling industry
Almost the entire gambling industry in Norway is a monopoly of two companies: Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. However, commercial organizations can also apply for a license to run the lottery. In accordance with the legislative act “On Lottery”, they can apply for licensing the following activities:
- post-draw and preliminary execution of lotteries drawn up by the Norwegian Gambling Center or other public authority;
- lotteries drawn up by a commercial operator;
- organization of a poker tournament. The license is issued to host the annual Norwegian championship in three types of tournament poker and to host five regional qualifying championships;
- preliminary drawing up of scratch cards;
- gambling activities on Norwegian ships;
- slot machines.
Activities not requiring a license:
- lotteries with an annual turnover of more than NOK 200,000 (Norwegian kroner), provided that they have humanitarian and social benefits. However, if organizations use commercial companies to do business on their behalf, a license is required;
- bazaar where the maximum prize amount is 8,000 NOK, the maximum bet is 5 NOK and the total value of all winnings is a maximum of 40,000 NOK;
- private poker tournaments that are held in private homes between people from the same social circle, provided they are not “professional”. Participants must be at least 18 years old, the number of participants must be less than ten, and the maximum bet per player is 1,000 NOK.
Licenses are issued by the Norwegian Gambling Center. Conditions for obtaining them:
- the company must provide a certificate of no criminal record of the chairmen of the board of directors and the CEO. This certificate proves that they were not guilty of any crimes related to violation of the Lottery Law;
- the company must be solvent;
- it must be registered with the NCCRLE.
The processing time for a license application is approximately three months. The duration and cost of each license depends on the type of activity for which it is given:
- post-draw and preliminary execution of lotteries drawn up by the Norwegian Gambling Center or other public authority costs NOK 3,000 and is valid for one year;
- lotteries drawn up by a commercial operator – NOK 30,000 with an annual fee of NOK 20,000 until expiration (9 years);
- organization of a poker tournament – NOK 10,000. The annual fee is 60,000 NOK. Validity period – 3 years;
- bingo – 1 250 NOK, given for one year;
- preliminary drawing up of scratch cards – 6 000 NOK.
- organization approval fee – 1,000 NOK;
- commercial operator approval fee – 20,000 NOK;
- Property owner approval fee – NOK 1,200.
Online gambling in Norway
Online gambling in Norway is subject to the same laws and regulations as offline. Advertising and implementation of virtual gambling activities is prohibited without a license.
Only two state-owned companies have exclusive rights to provide online gambling entertainment. Norsk Riskoto’s website allows horse racing betting, while Norsk Tipping offers lotteries, slots, sports betting, poker, keno and scratch cards. The site norsk-tipping.no/kongkasino is the first online casino created by Norsk Tipping to operate with government approval.
However, the officially approved sites have rather strict restrictions, so most Norwegian citizens prefer to visit unlicensed sites. In addition to being free of any restrictions, many of them have a Norwegian interface and accept Norwegian kronor (NOK).
At the service of players:
- 189 online casinos;
- 22 sites dedicated to online poker;
- 35 online sports betting platforms;
- 33 bingo portals;
- 26 mobile casinos;
- 5 online lottery platforms;
- 4 DFS sites.
As an example, five online casinos with a Norwegian interface:
- Omni Slots;
- Play Grand Casino;
- Betcart Casino;
- Spinson Casino.
The game of poker is very popular among Norwegians. However, due to very strict laws, players are forced to turn to various Internet portals. Popular poker rooms with a Norwegian interface include:
- Poker Stars;
- Full Tilt;
- Betway Poker;
- Bet365 Poker;
- Unibet Poker.
Popular slot machines in Norway
Slots from IGT and NetEnt are especially popular in Norway. A selection of the five most popular models:
- Hall Of Gods is a 5-reel device from NetEnt. It has 20 paylines, special symbols, free spins, a bonus game, and a three-level progressive jackpot;
- Texas Tea is a five-reel, nine-payline slot machine from IGT studio. The game features two special symbols: scatter and bonus. There is also a bonus round;
- Tripple Red Hot 777 is a popular slot from IGT. It contains three classic reels and five pay lines. The game has a wild, which brings additional multipliers, as well as a bonus picture that triggers free spins with additional features;
- Cats is a 5-reel, 30-payline slot machine. Its developer is also IGT. The game features double symbols and free spins;
- Cash Coaster is a five-reel, thirty-line slot. Producer – IGT studio. This model has free spins, special symbols, the Roller Coaster Wild option and other interesting features.
Norwegian gambling software developers
Despite the strictness of the gambling laws, Norway boasts some well-known software developers. For example, Funcom, which began its existence in 1993. Since then, she has developed and released over 25 games for various platforms. The most famous are the MMORPG Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and Anarchy Online, as well as The Longest Journey series.
Prospects for the development of the gambling business in Norway
The Norwegian gambling industry has come a long way. If in the 1950s gambling in the country was perceived as something unworthy, today Norway ranks third in Europe in terms of the development of the gambling business.
Recently, the government has been focusing its attention and resources on combating gambling addiction. This, in fact, is the reason for such strict prohibitions and laws regulating the activities of gambling establishments in Norway. However, this strategy was not very effective. This is evidenced by data from research conducted by analysts at the Norwegian Gaming Board in 2007 and 2010. The number of dependent players during this period of time increased from 1.3% to 2.1%.
In addition, the Norwegian government was planning to start blocking foreign online casino sites by IP. But, given the negative sentiment of citizens, this idea was abandoned. There is an assumption that sooner or later the gambling market will still open up for foreign operators who will compete with state-owned companies and replenish the Norwegian treasury with tax deductions. In any case, the Norwegian gambling business shows quite good results in its development.