Norway has recently introduced some of the strictest online gambling measures in the world. It is notoriously hard to track down a real life casino in Norway, and has been for many years; the suspicions about gambling have evidently translated into the online world as well. Elsewhere in Europe the gambling laws are much more relaxed, but unfortunately Norway is not part of the EU, so isn’t subject to the same communal pressure as its Scandinavian neighbours. However, what the law says and how it actually functions are two different aspects, and for online gamblers desperate to bet some cash, the situation isn’t as bleak as it may initially appear.
(Ad) It was reported here, that back in 2008, Norway made it illegal for citizens to gamble on foreign sites, which caused a huge amount of concern in the community. Compounding that limitation is the fact that there are only two legal betting sites in the country, Norse Tipping, which handles lotteries, poker, sports betting, keno and scratch cards games, and Norse Riskoto, which is solely focused on horse racing. If you want to online gamble strictly by the law in Norway, those are your only two options. Anything else, including sites originating within the country and the numerous foreign sites that are popular with gamblers across the world, is illegal, with no exceptions.
However, the reality is a lot less bleak than it sounds. Despite foreign sites being illegal to gamble on, many popular sites such are played regularly in Norway with little repercussions. Many, many sites all over the world accept Norwegian customers, and a few even accept the Norwegian Krone. Though these sites may be illegal by Norway’s standards, they are not based within the country, and still abide meticulously by the rules in the countries that they’re headquartered in. Norwegian customers are still technically breaking the law if they place a bet at one of these sites, but in reality it’s more of a threat than an enforced rule. Norwegian gamblers are unlikely to see any form of repercussions whatsoever for using and enjoying these sites.
However, although they might not be targeting their citizens, lawmakers in Norway have recently started to clamp down on advertising and payment processing. The country’s culture minister, Linda Hofstad Helleland, announced her intention to crack down on international gambling operators to advertise on television channels shown within the country. Simultaneously, Norway’s gambling regulator has ordered several banks to cut ties with gamblers and unauthorised online gambling operators.
Although all signs point toward Norway wanting to keep a tight grip on their already restrictive gambling laws, the fact is that the above measures are reactive, not preventative. It is still extremely rare for a gambler utilising foreign online gambling services to be brought up on any kind of charges, so the situation largely remains the same as it ever was. Those who want to gamble in Norway will undoubtedly find a way, and until the Norwegian government can initiate a method to tackle the perceived problem on a large scale, it’s likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.