Let’s get something out of the way right now – the gambling laws in Norway suck. Gamblers here have a few options, but let’s be honest – the US gambling scene looks like the Promised Land by comparison.
Unfortunately, one of the few options Norwegians don’t have is online gambling. We didn’t find any specific laws that prohibit online gambling. However, the country has taken steps that have made online gambling near impossible.
Norwegians continue to gamble online regardless, though, and you can too. The first step is to choose a legit site. We have several in the list below, so go ahead and pick one if you want to get signed up right now.
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You can trust that no matter which site you choose, you’ll have a great time. We’re able to say that because we do things differently here. Here’s what we mean by that.
If ratings aren’t good enough for you, then consider reading our reviews. We do things differently there, too. Here’s the type of information we look for and include in every review we write.
Nearly every review we write exceeds 2,500 words, and there are several in the range of 4,000-6,000 words. You’ll have a hard time finding anything as detailed as our reviews elsewhere on the web.
If there’s anything else that you need to know, it’s this – our team members are also customers at all the (top-rated) gambling sites we recommend. We’re not the type of site that tells you to join sites we’d never join ourselves.
We don’t only talk the talk. We walk the walk, too. That’s a standard that all review sites should be held to.
Here’s what you’re going to learn in this article.
The first thing we’re going to cover is our 23-point gambling inspection checklist. We keep the items mentioned here in mind whenever we review an all-in-one (AIO) gambling site. Ignore this, and there’s a good chance that your time spent gambling online won’t be as fun as it could be.
Next, we’ll talk about gambling in Norway. Norway is unique from other countries in that gambling is strict on nearly every level – online or off. We’ll talk a little bit about what’s legal or not, and more importantly, what your options are.
We’ll wrap things up with an FAQ where we answer all the questions we didn’t cover in the previous two sections.
Let’s get to it.
The first thing we’re going to talk about is how to go about choosing a gambling site. You don’t want to pick any old site since each one can be significantly different from the next.
But what exactly do you look for?
That’s what we’re going to cover now. What you’ll find below are the items we look for in each product a gambling site might offer. The more boxes you can check off, the better the time you’ll have.
These are the things we think about and look for whenever we review an AIO gambling site.
One thing that’s important to point out here is that you might have to tweak some of these points to be more specific as to what you want to play or bet on.
For example, one point is to look for competitive pricing in the sportsbook. But let’s say that all you want to bet on is football. In that case, don’t worry about how everything else is priced – just focus on the soccer pricing.
You get the idea, though. Stick to this list (or something similar), and it’ll be hard not to find a site that’s a good fit for you.
The simple answer is that you don’t have many gambling options in Norway. The few options that do exist have several rules you need to follow.
The following are your legal gambling options in Norway.
You can play the lottery and scratch games via the Norsk Tipping AS. The lottery drawing is held every week.
Then there’s the Norsk Rikstoto. This organization runs the pari-mutuel betting in Norway. As of now, their racing/betting options are limited to horses. You can also bet sports (football) via kiosks.
You can play poker, but only in a home game setting, and only if you meet certain criteria. These include there being 10 or fewer players, and all players coming from the surrounding area.
Bingo appears to be legal, but it doesn’t sound like it’s available to the public. It’s only for entrepreneurs and businesses. Organizations need to obtain a license beforehand. They will also need to send in reports or fulfill other obligations based on the amount of revenue/turnover they do.
And that’s it. Those are your options. There are no land-based casinos. Online casinos are off-limits, too – or might as well be.
Doesn’t that seem strict? It does to us.
Norway is taking these anti-gambling measures because they noticed a rise in problem gambling. They (understandably) want to reduce/prevent it.
The problem is that gambling addiction is a problem that all countries have to deal with, whether gambling is legal or not. It’s not unique to Norway. This much restriction seems like overkill.
If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past few years, it’s this – if people want to gamble (online), they’ll find a way to do it.
Yeah, they are. It didn’t take long to find a couple recent cases of police raids or new laws that the government is trying to pass.
For example, in March 2022, roughly in Oslo. These clubs have ties to organized crime, so the charges won’t stop at poker.
Then we found a news story that broke the following month. This one discussed how Norway was continuing to come up with additional anti-gambling measures. One of those measures is blocking access to foreign gambling companies.
The country will be checking to see if this measure is working, too.
Norway will give the Lottery Authority the ability to request annual bank statements that show transactions made to/from foreign and third-party sites. This means that if you fund your player account using a Norway-based bank, you could face consequences.
That’s not all, though.
Despite passing laws that effectively make Norsk Tipping AS’ and Norsk Rikstoto’s monopoly stronger by blocking foreign companies, the government also decided that both companies needed to reduce their advertising.
The country is trying to reduce the overall exposure that Norwegians have to gamble, regardless of if it’s legal or not.
For now, you can play online at offshore (foreign) gambling sites. Who knows how long this option will last, though, so if you want to play, you need to start now.
There are several benefits to playing online, too. The following are a few examples of the benefits you can enjoy.
And so on. Of course, we’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know.
There are many downsides, too. One example is offshore sites. While there are many safe sites to join, there are far more that are not safe. The risk of joining one of these sites will likely go up if access to all the major AIO sites is blocked.
One way to reduce your risk is to join an offshore site that’s licensed in the UK, Malta, Gibraltar, or Alderney. These jurisdictions have far higher standards compared to other jurisdictions.
You also have the risk of being caught gambling by your own government. This comes with stiff consequences. You can receive anywhere from 3-12 months for illegal gambling. Who knows if these laws will get worse in the future, too?
The bottom line – you do have gambling options, but they’re either heavily regulated or illegal. If you want to play online, you need to be okay with the potential consequences of doing so.
You also need to hurry. Your access to all the safe and legit gambling sites can be blocked at any time. Who knows what your options will be afterward… or if you’ll have any options left.
Gambling in Norway doesn’t look promising, does it? There are no land-based casinos, and online gambling appears to be illegal (or will be soon enough).
You do have a few options. You can play poker, scratch cards, the lottery, and bet on horses. Of course, there are several rules you need to follow if this is the way you want to go.
Meh. We’d consider moving.
Okay, we’re joking…or are we?
Seriously, though, you can try playing online – just know that there may be consequences if you’re caught. That’s assuming your access isn’t blocked before then.
If you’re okay with that, we recommend you start sooner than later. Just make sure you choose a site from our list above to keep your overall risk low.
Norwegians have lots of questions about gambling in Norway. It’s not surprising, either, considering how much is off-limits or heavily-regulated. You want to make sure you know exactly what the laws are to reduce your chances of legal trouble.
With that in mind, we wanted to create an FAQ section to answer commonly-asked questions that we didn’t answer in the previous sections. You’ll find those questions and our answers below.
You need to be at least 18 years old.
If you want to stay 100% above board, these are your options.
Also, you need to make sure you follow the rules for each. We covered the poker-related rules above. You’ll also find additional laws and rules in our Norway Gambling Laws guide.
There are three acts that cover the majority of ground as far as gambling is concerned.
These acts make it so that the two gambling companies in the country can offer betting and the lottery.
It’s not totally clear. It looks like all gaming law changes must go through the Minister of Culture. That’d be our best guess.
In 2010, Norway started blocking payments to/from gambling sites. It’s not quite clear yet how well that has worked for them.
It sounds like the situation in the USA, though. So, you could assume that payment processing is spotty at best. Sometimes it will work. Other times it won’t.
That said, one thing Norway is doing that the US is not is giving the Lottery Authority permission to collect annual reports of transactions made to foreign and third-party sites. This is risky for Norwegians, as there are consequences to illegal gambling.
The point we’re trying to make is that it’s probably not a good idea to use traditional credit and debit cards, bank wires, or checks to fund your account.
What we recommend using instead are third-party e-wallets (PayPal, Neteller, Skrill), gift or prepaid cards, or cryptocurrency (Bitcoin). Those options will provide some anonymity once you’ve funded them.
There was the raid we talked about earlier, where five poker clubs (with connections to organized crime) were busted.
We also found a case where that they called Macho Sports. The sportsbook wasn’t in Norway, but Peru.
However, they operated it from LA, San Diego, and Norway. In fact, one of the defendants, Erik Portocarrero, was arrested in Oslo and fought extradition for nearly 2 years before losing the battle and being shipped to the United States.
Slots were available in Norway as early as the 1990s. You could find machines everywhere – gas stations, bars, hotels, and grocery stores.
People loved them. Slot machines contributed as much as 26 billion NOK annually. In fact, they brought in more than 60% of the total gambling revenue in 2004. That’s how popular they were.
However, due to problem gambling concerns, Norway started to limit slot machine availability in 2002. Then they granted Norsk Tipping a monopoly on slot-like machines which passed in 2007. This effectively got rid of slots in Norway.
In 2008, Norsk Tipping put out machines that heavily restricted how much you could play. For example, you couldn’t lose more than $75 per day or $400 per month. You were also forced to take a break every hour you played.
It sounds like these machines are still available, though their popularity is nowhere near that of slot machines due to the special card you need to play them and their limitations.
The only way to play slot machines now is to join an offshore gambling site.
Do you have a question about gambling in Norway? Send us an email, and we’ll do our best to add it here ASAP.