Sharing a peninsula with Finland and Sweden, Norway is a country located in northern Europe with an interesting gambling industry. Gambling was first legalized in 1902 and has continued to be an option for residents to this day. Online gambling is also legal, though services are restricted to state-controlled operators.
Gambling first started in Norway at the beginning of the 20th century. The main law concerning gambling in the country is the Gaming Scheme Act. The state controls all gambling activity in Norway, and only two monopolies can offer games of chance. The industry is very restricted with the government in full control of operations.
The monopolies include Norsk Tipping AS and Norsk Rikstoto. Norsk Rikstoto provides horse race betting. Norsk Tipping AS offers players access to casino games, sports betting, scratch cards, instant gaming options, and lottery.
There is an exception to the gambling rules where non-profit organizations are concerned. Religious organizations and humanitarian groups can receive a charity gambling license.
When it comes to physical gaming, the options are limited. There are no real casinos in the country. Before 2007, Norway offered slot machines in all types of places, including grocery stores and pubs, with the venues acting as slot halls. Companies took advantage of a legal loophole to do this, but eventually, laws changed, and the gaming option was eliminated.
Some gaming properties offer interactive video terminals, but you won’t find any live dealer tables, card games, and other options.
Gambling licensing is provided by the Norwegian Gambling and Foundation Authority. Licensing is required to offer services in the country legally. The two state-owned operators have special gambling licensing, and it is not possible for a private commercial company to receive a license. The only exception is a cruise ship.
There is also an exception for online bingo gaming. Since 2020, non-profit organizations have been able to receive a license for iGaming.
Since there are no private operators in the country, there is no specific gambling tax on operations. Gambling winnings earned by players in Norway are not taxable if generated from a Norwegian company.
Norway has a very strict gaming environment that is government controlled. Because of this, player protections are in place on the largest scale. Players can rest assured that operators follow all rules and regulations to ensure a safe gambling experience.
In January 2023, the new Gaming Scheme Act came into effect, which unified the Lottery Act, Gaming Scheme Act, and the Totalisator Act. It expands the toolbox of the regulator to provide more control to the overseer. The Authority can now order DNS blocking of websites of illegal operators and issue administrative fines.
The country does its best to stop offshore sites from offering services to players. In 2010, the government passed the Payment Act, which stops banks in Norway from allowing credit and debit card payments to offshore providers. It is technically illegal to play with offshore providers while in Norway, but those who play are not prosecuted.