Norway is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination. Visitors are usually interested in visiting the country’s natural landscapes such as its mountains, forests, and fjords.
Other popular tourist activities include looking for Northern Lights, whale watching, going on sleigh rides and experiencing the Sami culture. However, one thing that visitors won’t be able to do is to visit any actual land-based casinos in Norway.
There are no land-based casinos in the country. This article will explore some of the reasons behind the lack of casino gaming venues in Norway and also at alternatives that exist.
How gambling is regulated in Norway
There are three specific acts that regulate gambling in Norway.
These acts are:
- the Totalisator Act of 1927
- the Gaming Scheme Act of 1992
- the Lottery Act of 1995
In order for a casino gambling provider to operate in Norway, they must obtain a license from the Gaming Authority which is in charge of regulating the national gaming scene. However, private operators are very limited in their application for licenses.
These licenses are difficult to obtain for private operators and outright impossible for commercial operators. The latter are not eligible for gaming licenses from the Gaming Authority so they simply cannot apply.
Under the Totalisator Act of 1927 and the Gaming Scheme Art of 1992, only two operators are granted the exclusive rights to offer most of Norway’s legal gambling activities. These two operators are Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto.
They can choose to provide land-based and online gambling activities in the country. In other words, gambling in Norway is a state monopoly in which these two operators have the most power.
It must be noted that gambling is legal in Norway if the venue is licensed. Visitors and tourists will be able to take part in licensed gambling activities.
iGaming in Norway
Furthermore, and surprisingly enough, it is not illegal for players in Norway to gamble on unlicensed websites. The legislation in place for land-based casinos is therefore different for online and off-shore casinos.
Norwegian citizens and tourists can gamble on casino websites that are not licensed by Norway’s Gaming Authority but also have the option to play at a licensed online casino if they prefer.
Some of the state’s licensed platforms include the online lottery, Norsk Bingo, and KongKasino, among others.
This loophole has boosted the popularity and success of online casinos. More and more online casinos are appearing on the market with people being able to be guided by online-casinos.com/norway/ to find the best sites.
However, relatively recent laws have made online casino gaming a bit trickier in Norway. For example, a 2010 gambling law now forbids Norwegian banks from processing payments to and from unlicensed gaming venues.
However, this law only targets payments that are made with debit or credit cards. As reported by a source, gamers can still play at an unlicensed venue by paying with an ‘e-wallet’ or ‘digital wallet’.
E-wallets or digital wallets include third-party apps and companies like Neteller, Skrill, PayPal or even cryptocurrencies. Gamers who use such payment methods to visit an unlicensed casino, are not prosecuted for doing so.
Because of this, iGaming is growing in popularity. More and more Norwegian gamers and tourists in Norway are turning towards this alternative due to the lack of land-based casinos.
The growth of online casinos as a result of illegal land-based casinos in Norway
iGaming casinos are also popular for a number of other reasons.
Here are some of them:
- They offer quick gaming opportunities and are easy to access
Land-based casinos can be great places to play with others, but they are not usually quick or easy to access. In order to get to land-based casinos, gamers usually have to travel or commute there and spend several hours in the venue.
Then, gamers have to return home which means more commuting or traveling.
Online casinos, on the other hand, are very quick and easy to access. Gamers can instantly visit a virtual venue and start playing without wasting any time.
Many of these online casinos offer short and quick games for those playing on their work breaks. Long gaming sessions are therefore optional and depend on the gamer’s schedule and availability.
There are also many entry-level games for beginners which attract new players. Many individuals can find it daunting to enter a land-based casino when they have no gaming experience.
It is much less daunting to enter a virtual venue and start playing a beginner friendly casino game.
- A large variety of games
Not only are online casinos easy to access and more convenient for many players, but they also offer a large variety of games. Some of these games cannot be easily found in land-based casinos.
Many virtual venues also offer original and new casino game variations. For example, players who want to try something different can play Slingo, which is a combination of slots and bingo.
There are also many variations of poker and other traditional casino games that are worth a try. Online casinos are able to invest and develop new games thanks to the reduced costs of offering online games.
They do not have to purchase, arrange the delivery of and the maintenance of expensive gaming machines. Land-based casinos are usually limited in their gaming selection because machines and equipment are expensive.
This means that land-based casinos cannot afford to purchase new games all of the time. Online casinos, on the other hand, have more flexibility and can regularly offer new gaming opportunities to their customers.
Because of the large variety of games in online casinos, many gamers prefer these venues over licensed gaming clubs or centers. If they get tired of a certain virtual venue, they can easily visit another one and try different games.
Land-based alternatives to casinos, and casinos near Norway
If one still fancies a land-based gamble while visiting Norway, then tourists will be pleased to know that some options exist.
Bingo halls are actually legal in Norway, and plenty can be found in cities like Oslo. One worth visiting is the one at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, which is a popular spot among both locals and tourists. Or one can find plenty of smaller, more intimate halls in suburbs and neighbouring cities.
If one is after an actual casino, then it’s fairly easy to travel to Sweden or Denmark. Casinos are legal there, and one could visit Casino Cosmopol in Gothenburg, Sweden, which is only a few hours away from Norway by car or train. Or one could take the Oslo-Copenhagen ferry to Denmark and visit the casino there, after a day of exploring the beautiful city of Copenhagen.
Land-based options definitely exist despite land-based casinos being illegal in Norway.
This article focused on the gaming legislation in Norway and the reasons why there are no actual land-based casinos in the country. The lack of land-based casinos is boosting the popularity of online casinos.
Some of the other reasons behind the growing success of virtual casinos were also discussed in this article, and land-based options were presented as well, to ensure one has an enjoyable stay in Norway.