Active players: 1.636.000
Currency: Norwegian Krone (NOK)
Regulated gambling products: Sports betting, online casino games, lotteries, horse racing, bingo, poker.
Operator types: State-run monopoly in betting & online casinos (Norsk Tipping) and horse races (Norsk Rikstoto). Foreign betting sites operate without legal permit.
Designated authority: Norwegian Gaming Authority (Lotteri og Stiftelsestilsynet).
Status: Grey market. Foreign bookmakers are not legally prosecuted.
Norway is considered as one the best countries to live in, as it ranks in first place in terms of living standards, life expectancy and education according to the UN. High wages and robust social benefits mean that Norwegians have a lot of cash to spend, with an approximate 30% of them choosing sports betting & other gambling activities to entertain themselves on a weekly basis. As a result of this impressive player value, a plethora of foreign betting sites are offering their services to local punters, amid loose laws that are trying but failing to protect the state-run gambling monopoly of Norsk Tipping.
Things to know before you bet
- Apart from Norsk Tipping, no bookmaker has been awarded a Norwegian Gaming Authority license.
- Access is not limited to NorskTipping, as you can bet on any foreign betting sites in Norway.
- Local citizens are technically required to declare tax winnings made in another country.
- Norske Kroner are accepted on most bookies, with many of them offering their services in Norwegian.
- No brick and mortar casinos operate in Norge, with Norsk Tipping holding exclusive rights to offer legal online casino gaming.
Top 3 Betting Sites in Norway
Similar to most Nordic countries, the sports betting landscape in Norway is split between a loosely enforced state monopoly and foreign based operators that offer their services without any legal or financial obligations towards the government. In 2010, the Norwegian Gaming Authority tried to deter access to these unlicensed sites by implementing certain payment blocking measures, similar to the UIGEA in the United States. However, payment institutions and government officials were not pressured to follow through on these measures and as a result Norske bettors have freely continued placing their wagers on their favorite bookmakers. In terms of brands, the local market is heavily influenced by UK & Malta based bookies, with Bet365, Interwetten and 10bet claiming the lion’s share.
The complete absence of any taxes or compliance requirements means that Norwegians regularly enjoy high odds and promotional offers from foreign betting sites. Unfortunately, there is a significant drawback to this free-for-all regulatory nature given that Norway is not a member of the European Union. This means that players are not protected by EU consumer protection laws while they can also not appeal to the European Court of Justice in case of bookmaker fraud. Thankfully, most Norwegians are aware of these hazards and tend to choose trusted betting sites mainly based in European countries.
Competition among bookmakers
The combination of high player value and absence of government control have naturally made Norway one of the best targets for well known and emerging bookmakers. Fierce competition among these betting sites has allowed some regional powerhouses, like neighbouring Swedish brands Unibet and Betsson, to overshadow their British counterparts who have lately fallen out among millennial bettors. An interesting stat is the resurgence of slot machines in the average gambler’s preference that have practically doubled in revenues since 2012. The Lotteri og Stiftelsestilsynet had tried to tackle this trend in the past, when they attempted to ban foreign operators from advertising and accepting payments regarding casino products. However, the lax government controls coupled with the fact that Norsk Tipping operates its own casino platform (KongKasino), meant that no real pressure was put on limiting the effect of slot machines.
Following a recent block by the Regulatory Authority (27/04/2017) regarding payments from Norwegian banks, the local market responded with a complete transition to online payment services and e-wallets. This means that paysafecards, virtual cards, Skrill & Neteller are frequently used, while local Avtalegiro and BankAxept are steadily increasing in popularity among players. Most bookies tend to accept Norwegian Kroner without requiring any currency exchange fees.
Pretty much like all the other Nordics, Norway has tried to balance its social heritage with a liberal approach in terms of market regulation. This means that while they have openly condemned foreign operators from approaching local players and are promoting Norsk Tipping services, they have not taken active steps to ban access to these sites. Although Norwegian punters might think that a coherent regulatory status would have little effect, they have to remember that betting on unlicensed bookmakers means that they lack a safety net against scam bookies. My belief is that Norway should look across the Skagerrak and imitate Denmark’s approach to iGaming, by implementing a strict but fair licensing system.
Best betting sites in Norway
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