The online gambling situation in Norway appears much worse on
paper than it is in reality. If you simply read the laws that
are on the books, things look dire for Norwegian gamblers. There
are two licensed betting sites in Norway and both feature poor
odds, poor game selection, and are limited in overall
In reality, it’s not all that bad. Let’s start with what the
law says. After that, we’ll talk about what online gambling is
really like in Norway today.
The Current Legal Situation
Norway has some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in all of
Europe. And more, Norway isn’t a member of the EU and is
therefore not subject to the same pressure that its neighbors in
Finland and Sweden are to loosen its grip on the
The only two legal betting sites in Norway today are:
Riskoto for horse racing.
Tipping for lotteries, sports betting, poker, keno, and scratch
To talk about the current legal situation, we first need to
take a step back into time. Over the past century, most forms of
gambling have been considered illegal in Norway. The games that
aren’t outlawed are heavily regulated by the state and may only
be offered by state-owned monopolies.
The Totalisator Act of 1927 first established legal horse
racing betting in Norway. The act gave Norsk Riskoto the sole
power to conduct horse wagering across the country. Norsk
Riskoto exists to this day in both offline and online forms.
This is the only officially legal place to bet on horses over
the internet in Norway.
The 1992 Gaming Act gave Norsk Tipping monopoly control over
Norway’s lottery, sports betting, and other games. Later,
Norwegian lawmakers granted Norsk Tipping the authority to host
online poker for residents of the country.
In 2008, Norway made it illegal for individuals to play at
foreign gambling sites. This caused a great deal of concern, but
we have since seen that law isn’t being enforced. Many people from
Norway play at unlicensed foreign sites every day without any
issues. It’s similar to what we see in other countries where
there are laws on the books against playing, but they aren’t
That history all leads up to the current situation in Norway.
If you want to be strictly compliant with the law, you can play
at Norsk Tipping for poker and sports betting or Norsk Riskoto
for pari-mutuel wagering. That’s it. Playing anywhere else is
What It’s Really Like in Norway
The reality of the legal situation isn’t nearly as dire in
Norway as Norsk Riskoto and Tipping would have you believe. The
fact of the matter is people are still playing at “offshore”
gaming sites all the time in Norway, and business is as good as
ever. Hundreds of gaming sites around the world accept
Norwegians. Some even process transactions in Norwegian Krones
and present the games in Bokmål and Nynorsk.
Quite a few respected offshore bookmakers, poker sites, and
casinos still accept Norwegian customers today. Lawmakers may
call them “illegal” operations, but they actually function in
full accordance with the laws where they are headquartered.
Yes, it’s technically illegal to place bets at any
unlicensed site but it’s more of a threat than an actual
enforced law. The biggest issue you’re likely to face when doing
business with an unlicensed site is a declined credit card
deposit thanks to the Payment Act of Norway passed in 2010.
The Payment Act was Norway’s version of the USA’s
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Like the
UIGEA, the Payment Act attempts to stifle online gambling in
Norway by instructing banks and payment processors not to
conduct business with offshore gaming companies. The legislation
doesn’t target individual gamblers; it strictly addresses the
banking industry in Norway.
That’s where things stand now in Norway. The law says one
thing; the people do another. Lawmakers have hinted that one day
they may be open to opening the market to competition and
allowing foreign operators to offer games and pay taxes in
Norway. Many favor going this direction since online gambling is
already widespread among Norwegians. They might as well legalize
it, put protections in place, and bring in the additional tax
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