Lovers of gambling, in both offline and online casino Norway, will have a hard time looking for best Norway online casinos. This is because this country has one of the most restricting situations in Europe in terms of gambling. According to the law, the citizens and visitors of Norway cannot gamble on any platforms, including best Norwegian online casinos, unless these are by two state-controlled operators. However, luckily, the state does not block foreign websites, and citizens of Norway are able to take advantage of platforms that operate online from other states and accept Norwegians. This is generally the only way of gambling online, as no online casino Norway is open.
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History of gambling in Norway
It is unclear what was the situation with gambling in Norway before the beginning of the 20th century, because already in 1902, when Penal Code of Norway was created, it was indicated in laws 298 and 299 that all types of games except those offered by state-operated companies, are forbidden. All types of games where winning depended majorly on luck were claimed illegal, and all operators who lacked official license were punished.
During the 20th century, Norwegian government was working hard on regulation of gambling on the territory of the kingdom, and eventually introduces several exceptions to the ban claimed by the law earlier. State got full monopoly in the industry of gambling, Norsk Riksoto Foundation became eligible for organizing horse racing with betting and was subjected to control by the Ministry of Agriculture.
In 1992, Norsk Tipping AS, another state operator, was granted exclusive rights for holding the lottery and some other types of betting, for example, betting on football, Keno, and some other games. The main idea behind such scheme was to collect money that could be used by the government for the benefit of society, and not for enriching private operators.
As everywhere else in the world, Norway also saw the appearance of slots machines. This type of entertainment was very popular, but according to the law, slots were part of the lottery-type of games, and therefore the development of this niche was poorly regulated. During the 1990s, the number of slots machines, the number of players, and the amount of money spent on slots on a regular basis grew dramatically. The government had to take action, so already in 2007, all slot machines were banned. In 2009, the state introduced interactive video terminals that offered experience similar to playing slots, but every player needed a special card that would allow him to use the terminal, and yet limit the amount of money the player could spend in one session.
Current Situation on Gambling in Norway
Overall, those who likes to play casino Norway games in land-based Norwegian casinos, have three options - they can visit state-operated horse racing facilities, they can gamble on cruise ships in the open sea, or they can go travelling to the neighboring states like Denmark or Sweden, where casinos are legal and can be enjoyed by every visitor.
Those preferring to game in online casino in Norway can’t do that, so they usually just visit foreign websites that accept players from Norway. The government does not ban those websites and does not restrict the access of Norwegian gamblers to those platforms. The only main issue is that players have to declare their winnings as income and pay taxes. Mobile casinos in Norway are not available as well, unless these are foreign, so do not look for online casino Norway for real money.
Laws for gambling in Norway
There are three main legal Acts that regulate the whole niche of gambling in Norway. In the beginning of the 20th century, in 1927, the first was the Totalisator Act, in 1992 - the Gaming Act, and in 1995 - the Lottery Act. These three sets of laws, firstly, establish the full monopoly of the state in the niche of gambling, secondly, regulate what games are allowed and what aren’t, and thirdly, within those laws online gambling should have been regulated. However, the government decided that it would be easier to simply ban all Norway casinos online at once, than developing complicated regulations and laws.
The main point is that citizens tended to spend lots of money on casino online Norway games, moreover, the state authorities decided that gambling was way too addictive. To make you understand the situation more completely, we will notice that one of the state-operated agencies, Norsk Tipping, is controlled by Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs. So gambling is not seen as an economic activity bringing money to the country, rather it is considered a type of entertainment that should be supervised.
Norsk Tipping agency is allowed to offer sports betting, lotteries, and several other games to the locals. Norsk Rikstoto is responsible mostly for animal racing. As for virtual ventures, in 2010, the authorities have passed the law that restricted local players even more. According to this law, none of the banks allowed their customers to use credit or debit plastic cards for depositing in Norway online casinos. This limits the local gamers even if they reach out to foreign casinos, because, as we all know, plastic card is one of the easiest and most accessible ways of depositing.
Another law claims that private parties including card games, or generally gambling, are legal. However, they should not be organized as business; all unlicensed operators, both companies or individuals, are punished and usually fined. Moreover, all citizens caught playing online illegally, face fines and from three months to one year in jail.
Regulatory authorities in Norway
There is one main authority that processes all issues and cases on Norway gaming and gambling in Norway, and it is called, surprisingly, The Gaming Authority. This Gaming Authority, in its turn, reports to the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs.
This agency has three main aspects of responsibilities:
- it makes sure that all games and all schemes of betting meet the requirements of the state in the niche, and are under a proper public control. This is the reason why a bunch of games are simply not allowed even in a state-controlled agency.
- it works with negative consequences of gambling and tries to prevent financial losses or emotional problems like addiction. This is a cool aspect, because potential negative consequences should be taken seriously. However, the fact is that most people who are into casinos either travel abroad to play, or play remotely from their homes. So, it is hard to deal with negative consequences in them, or even gather any reasonable statistic data.
- the agency also has to ensure that all the profits received as a result of betting are owned by the state and are eventually spent on things beneficial for the society. This is another main reason why the state takes such efforts to regulate the niche; they would love to have these money for charity.
The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs provides the ultimate control of the issue of gambling in Norway. This is the reason why organizations that have charity in their mind actually manage to get permissions for holding events and even poker tournaments. For example, in 2015, the Norwegian Leukaemia Association acquired the permit to hel poker events (despite the fact that poker has been banned in Norway for centuries).
So there are ways around the law in the kingdom, and big businesses or charity organizations find these ways. On the other hand, just average users have to look for opportunities opened to them.
Taxation laws on gambling in Norway
The kingdom requires all gamblers who wins more than 10,000 krones in a gambling session to pay full personal income tax which comprises 38,5%. Winnings in virtual casinos that are foreign are also subjected to this tax. The point is, the government wants to stimulate people to gamble only in state-controlled agencies. All racing events or lotteries held by state agencies bring winnings that are not subjected to taxation by the government.
In Norway, absolutely all parties involved into holding a gambling facility or event have to pay taxes, but the player. If the player uses games or events organized by one of the two main state agencies, and the resulting wins are not very high, no taxes are to be paid. However, all winnings from virtual platforms are considered usual income, and paying 38,5% if not a very pleasant thing.
It is unlikely that the situation with taxes will change any time soon. Therefore, if you are in Norway and would love to gamble, whether online or offline, consider an option of finding a really reputable and reliable virtual platform that accepts local players, or organize yourself a getaway to a neighboring state, that, preferably, does not tax casino gamers.
Land Based casinos in Norway
Unless you will get onto the cruise ship that has a casino on it which functions when the ship is in the open sea, you will not be able to play in non-virtual casino in Norway, because absolutely all casinos are forbidden. Your another option is to visit a private party (if you are invited), but obviously you will be able to enjoy only one or two games (most often these are card games like poker), and the bets won’t be that high.
The only legal opportunity to make some bets offline is to visit horse racing facilities. There are six such facilities in Norway. Therefore, if you are at least a bit into animal racing, there is a chance to enjoy your hobby legally. Check out three the most well-known animal racing places in the Norwegian kingdom.
Bergen Horse Racing Track
Betting here is controlled by Norsk Rikstoto. The track is for horse harness racing, and has been existing since 1985. The length of the track is 3,300 ft.
- Website: travparken.no
- Address: Bergen Travpark as, 5111 Breistein
- Phone: 55 39 68 00
- Email: email@example.com
- Open: n/a
Drammen Horse Racing Track
This is another harness racing track with the length of the track 2,600 ft. It has been in operation since 1955. Norsk Rikstoto is the authority controlling racing and bets on this facility.
- Website: drm.no
- Address: Rosenkrantzgata 355, 3027 Drammen
- Phone: 32 21 87 00
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Open: n/a
This Norwegian racecourse for horse racing is one of the oldest, being opened in 1932 by King Haakon VII and Queen Maud. It has several tracks, and still keeps the atmosphere and the mood of those old years when it was open. If you would like to not only make some bets, but also enjoy the atmosphere and attitude, you will definitely like this place.
- Website: ovrevollgalopp.no
- Address: Vollsveien 132, 1358 Jar
- Phone: +47 22 95 62 00
- Email: email@example.com
- Open: n/a
Banking options for gambling in Norway
As it has already been mentioned before, according to the recent law all Norwegian banks are banned from allowing the customers to use plastic cards for depositing to virtual casinos. This means that even if a virtual platform accepts Visa and Mastercard, local players cannot benefit from it. While a credit or debit card is one of the easiest, fastest, and the most reliable ways to transfer money, citizens of Norway have to rely on other ways.
There are several payments systems that are available for gamers in Norway:
- FundSend. This system gains growing popularity in the countries where it is actually available, including Norway, due to fast transactions, adequate fees, and general convenience. However, the number of states that support this payment system is still low. Luckily, it is open for Norwegians. The best part, though, is that the customers can connect their plastic card to the account in the FundSend and manage their finances this way.
- PaySafe. This system uses a prepaid card that is most frequently applied exactly for depositing to virtual casinos. One of the best advantages it gives is that the user does not need to link any of the personal or banking info to the casino account. The company does not collaborate with many states yet, but in those where it works customers really enjoy the perks they get.
- Skrill. Norwegians are blessed with access to Skrill, one of the most popular, well-known and reliable systems for quick online payments. Skrill is a widely used system for managing casino deposits and withdrawals. There are two major drawbacks connected to Skrill, though. The first is that you have to verify Skrill account with the help of your plastic card, and secondly, while depositing takes about 10 minutes, withdrawing from a virtual gambling house via Skrill takes up to two business days.
- Neteller. Another good news is that Norwegians can manage their money in terms of online entertainment via Neteller, one among the top five globally known payment agents. This company has earned a positive reputation in numerous countries (or in 180 countries, to be more precise), and it collaborates with hundreds of casinos online. One of the best pros of it is that the transactions are totally safe.
Other systems and companies available for depositing to a virtual platform include:
These are the most secure companies that support transactions for the sake of depositing and withdrawing when it comes to virtual gambling on the online casino sites in Norway.
Popular cities in Norway for gambling
As we have already discussed before, only horse racing facilities are freely available for betting offline if you are looking for something resembling a casino. You will be able to find tracks in the cities of Bergen, Drammen, Eidsberg, Oslo, Stavanger, and Trondheim. These are the most popular places that gather the fans of betting and animal racing. There are several known poker rooms but these are mostly private so it is unlikely you will be able to visit those unless you are privately invited.
Please keep in mind that some of the horse racing courses are not situation directly in the big city; in many cases you have to travel a bit to a village or a small town nearby.
Facts About Norway
Here are some curious facts about the Kingdom of Norway and also Norwegian gambling:
- there are only two state-controlled agencies operating legally in the niche of gambling and betting
- mostly only horse racing and lotteries are legally allowed
- all online casinos for Norwegians are forbidden by the law
- only three legal Acts regulate the policy of Norway in the questions of offline gaming, and online gambling sites in Norway
- poker has been banned for decades, but in 2015, it became allowed for organizations that give away money for charity, and for private entertainment
- to organize a legal private poker party, you will have to follow the rules of making the party in the private home, not hosting more than 10 players, hosting only players from local area, not betting more than 1000 krones
- most sports bets are made on soccer
- every Saturday, there is an official state lottery being held in Norway, and the show is very popular on the state TV channel
- in order to play at interactive video terminals that were, according to the initial plan, to replace slots, the customer should have a special card, which will give access to games, and also restrict the amount of money for playing.
- interactive video terminals have dropped the popularity of slot machines incredibly; the people started to prefer online gambling.
- Norwegian state lottery has produced an impressive number of local millionaires
- funny but one of the youngest and most successful poker players is a Norwegian.
Online casinos are illegal in Norway. Any business or entrepreneur that does not operate under the license of the state, and is not controlled by the two regulating agencies, is illegal and will most likely face a severe punishment. That is why, if locals want to game offline, they travel to neighboring countries or take a short cruise on a ship where gambling is allowed when they are not docked.
Talking about online casinos, they are also illegal, and no Norwegian casino sites can operate from Norway. Foreign websites are not blocked, in contrast to the situation in the UAE, but any local that is caught gaming on the virtual platform will face a fine and from 3 to 12 months in prison.
Gambling regulation is a set of laws and authorities that control and change the policies and procedures connected to gambling in Norway.
It is hard to predict the future, but there are two most probable options. The Kingdom of Norway will either make the rules even stricter and will start blocking even foreign websites, or will amend the rules as it has done to private poker rooms in 2015. Perhaps some day we will even see some top Norwegian online casinos for locals.