Active Players: 250.000
Currency: Icelandic krona (ISK)
Regulated gambling products: Fixed odds sports betting, football pools, lottery, slot machines, bingo, scratchcards
Designated authority: Financial Services Authority subordinated to the Ministry of Justice
Operator types: State-owned online monopoly bookmaker (Getspa/Getraunir) / international sportsbooks
Status: Grey market - no restrictions applied on foreign online operators
Iceland is famous around the world for its stunning natural attractions, but is no stranger to sports betting and other gambling activities. Although the first form of institutionalized betting came in 1933 with the lottery organized by the University of Iceland, the interest for Iceland betting sites boomed in recent years. The remarkable results of the Icelandic football team in Euro 2016, was one of the most important factors in the population’s increased interest in online betting.
However, the current configuration of the online Iceland betting landscape doesn’t give players too many options. The state-owned monopoly operator Islensk Getspa/Getraunir fails to deliver diverse betting markets, competitive odds and rewarding bonuses. Luckily, the country’s online market is complemented by various international bookmakers happy to accept Icelandic players and provide them with all the means to enjoy an excellent betting experience.
Betting in Iceland - 5 things to know
- The legal gambling age in Iceland is 18
- Players are not taxed on their winnings
- Over 70% of adult citizens engage in gambling activities
- The vast majority of bets are placed on football matches
- More than 80% of all Icelanders own smartphones - mobile betting is dominant
Best betting sites in Iceland
We put together a shortlist of the best Iceland sports betting sites by making sure that they offer their services in Icelandic, accept ISK and deliver high odds & diverse betting markets on a daily basis.
Iceland online betting: The gambling law framework
The first law regarding gambling in Iceland was the 1926 Lotteries and Tombolas Act. It stated that all gambling operations were prohibited without specific permission from the Ministry of Justice. In 1933 the University of Iceland received permission to organize its own lottery and the first form of betting in the country.
1972 was the year when the Lotteries and Tombolas Act was amended and a loophole was introduced to allow pool-based sports lotteries. This was the starting point for sports betting in Iceland and it led to a state-owned monopoly. In 2001 the sports betting and lotto components merged into one company - Íslensk Getspágetraunir - and to this day, they operate under the same website and constitute the only licensed sportsbook in the country.
With no proper licensing system in place though, there are also many international bookmakers that operate without a license. Nonetheless, the authorities don’t target them with any kind of restrictions or income taxes. Taking into consideration the passion that Iceland sport generates among citizens, international bookies actually thrive within the country.
Is it legal for Icelanders to bet online?
In the absence of specific laws on online betting, the authorities have no means or interest in blocking international operators. That’s excellent news for Icelandic punters that are free to decide where to bet. Furthermore, there’s no law targeting citizens who enjoy the services of foreign bookmakers; so there’s absolutely nothing at risk when choosing to bet on global brands.
The Icelandic Penal Code was updated in 2016, with articles 183 and 184 stating that the only punishable offence is engaging in betting or gambling on a professional basis, or deriving direct or indirect income from such activities taking place on one’s premises. So, as long as online betting is viewed as an entertaining activity, there’s nothing to worry about.
With no restrictions on their way, Icelanders are free to use online sportsbooks from the age of 18. It is also worth noting that players’ winnings from offshore bookmakers are not considered income, thus they are tax-free.
Since Icelanders are free to access any international bookmaker they want, it might be challenging to pick those that truly stand out. Therefore, we decided to present you with the three most popular ones.
On Bet365 you are able to bet using ISK and avoid currency exchange fees. Their generous welcome bonus is designed to boost your balance and increase the stake on your bets. Moreover, the coverage of Icelandic football and handball leagues with great odds and a 95% payout for the top European football leagues is a great plus.
Swedish iGaming giant Betsson, wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to provide flawless betting services to its fellow Nordic punters. It welcomes them with a very appealing sign up offer, with a website optimized in Icelandic and with 100+ betting markets on fixtures of the top international football leagues. The local football championship is also well represented with an average of 50 markets per match.
22Bet is another excellent sportsbook on which Icelandic bettors can enjoy top-quality services. Creating an account in just a few seconds, enjoying an intriguing first deposit bonus, having the chance to deposit and withdraw in ISK and being able to bet on 100+ markets on matches of the main European football leagues with a 97% payout; are the perks you are getting by becoming a member.
Comparing international bookies to the local operator
If you still have doubts that international bookies give you better chances of winning and improved services overall, let’s take a closer look at some main attributes. For a Premier League game, the odds offered by 22Bet compared to those of Getspá/Getraunir; were better with 0.13 for the favourite to win and 0.33 higher for the underdog to win. Comparable odds differences in favour of 22Bet were found for other top leagues like La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
Furthermore, while the local bookie only offers a total of 7 sports, Bet365 gives you the opportunity to bet on over 42 sports. Speaking of diversity, while the state-owned operator offers an average of 30 betting markets on an English Premier League football game; Betsson has 100+ for an identical match.
Since there are no local payment options available, you can top-up your account using popular international payments. E-wallets like Skrill, Neteller or PayPal are widely accepted at global bookies and are the fastest methods to deposit and withdraw your winnings. Furthermore, most Icelandic banks, like Landsbankinn, come with online banking functionality; so, you can transfer funds directly from your bank account to your bookie account.
If you’re already up to speed with the existing international betting sites in Iceland, you should know there’s no shortage of new names entering the market. Rising stars like Betwinner and Librabet are excellent options when it comes to enjoying top-quality bets on a wide array of sporting events. All three bookies welcome Icelandic bettors with high odds, a diverse range of sports to bet on and various betting markets. As a plus, Betwinner allows you to bet in ISK, while Librabet comes with a very generous welcome offer.
Even though the current situation of online betting in Iceland isn’t bad at all, there are things to be improved. The implementation of a licensing system that would allow international bookmakers to apply for a permit would be the best move forward; especially since players can use these bookies already. The competition between international brands and the state-owned operator would have positive effects for punters and the state alike. For the time being, we can only wait and see if the government will amend the current online gambling legislation and put an end to the monopoly in the near future.
Complete list of the Iceland online bookmakers
Islenska language (or simply Icelandic, in layman’s terms) is available on the state-owned operator and at Betsson. Even though a great portion of Icelanders know English, being able to bet in your local language makes everything easier and more comfortable.
Being able to bet using your local currency is not just convenient, but can also spare you some extra expenses; since you don’t have to worry about currency exchange fees. Bookmakers like Bet365, 1XBet and 22Bet give you the option to bet in ISK and focus only on your bets.
Yes, since there are no restrictions imposed on any of the international bookmakers by the Icelandic authorities, 888sport is also accessible to punters from Iceland.
Indeed, Bwin is one of the most popular international bookmakers that happily accepts Icelandic bettors and welcomes them with an impressive sign up offer.