Norway is a country where gambling online is legal, although under strict regulation and only to a degree. This naturally makes things a touch challenging to understand what you can do when playing there. What casino games do Norwegians like to play, which games are legal and where do Norwegians set up shop when they wish to play online? Throughout this article, we will take a close look at the online gambling scene in the Scandinavian country and attempt to reveal all to our readers. With that said, let us look at the best online casinos in Norway and what they can deliver to you.
An Overview of Gambling in Norway
Online gambling is considered legal in Norway. However, the country heavily regulates the industry, and the gambling scene is run as an oligopoly, with just a handful of companies being licensed to provide games to Norwegian players. Those two companies are Norsk Risktoto and Norsk Tipping. These monopolies run both the casino gaming sector, as well as sports betting.
Norwegian gambling laws are represented by several acts and regulations. There is the Lottery Act, which is self-explanatory. There is also the Gaming Scheme Act and the Totalisator Act. All these laws are maintained by the Norwegian Gaming Authority.
In Norway, online casinos are run by Norsk Tipping, which is itself state-owned and under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture. The selection of games you can play at any Norwegian casino owned by Norsk Tipping is limited compared to those found in other countries, but they are most certainly legal.
Lottery games are permitted in Norway, but only if they are run by Norsk Tipping. Norsk Tipping was founded in 1948, and participates in several European lotteries, including the Scandinavian favourite, the Viking Lotto. Offshore lotteries are neither legal nor illegal and fall into a grey zone. Similarly, Norsk Tipping is the only company legally able to offer bingo games, with just one bingo room available. The bingo laws in the country are arguably stricter than the casino laws, with ID verification required before you bet.
Sports betting is permitted in Norway, with both Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto running several companies. The Totalisator Act covers this area of online gambling. The latter is responsible for horse racing betting, with most other forms of sports betting falling under the jurisdiction of the all-powerful Norsk Tipping. Sports betting in Norway is legal, although, the markets which are available are more limited than you would find in other international sports betting sites.
About Norwegian Offshore Casinos
Norway does have a law which aims to prevent its residents and citizens from playing at offshore casinos. This law is known as the Payment Act. Unveiled in 2010, it hypothetically prevents Norwegian banks from processing transactions between Norwegians and offshore gambling domains. Its success has been mixed.
Officially, betting at offshore casinos is illegal under Norwegian law. However, while the banking bans do go some way to prevent this, they are really the only obstacle to playing at foreign sites. Norway does not punish its citizens or residents who do decide to visit remote gambling sites to try their hand at other games. Many Norwegians do this on account of the games which are available in Norwegian sites being a touch on the limited side.
Because the Norwegian population likes to have a flutter, you will find no shortage of offshore casinos which are eager to cater to the population. Many of these sites accept the Norwegian krone (NOK) currency option and even provide gameplay in Norwegian.
Norway’s Most Played Casino Games
Norwegians like to have a punt on a wide variety of gambling games. This is not surprising, considering that the games available legally via betting sites owned by the country’s two monopolies are a touch on the limited side.
Slot Machines: Slots are popular with Norwegian players, despite national casino sites not having too many of them to offer in comparison to other casinos. Norwegians like to play all manner of top slots, and a few have been on the receiving end of major progressive jackpot cash prizes in the past.
Card Games: Card games such as blackjack and baccarat are permitted in Norway and can commonly be found at casinos run by Norsk Tipping. These games are usually provided by major software developers, and while the number of variants does fall short of international casinos, there is often still enough to play.
Poker Games: Poker games are trickier to play at Norwegian online casinos. There are no Norwegian poker rooms online, so any poker games you can play are often found in generic online casinos. These games predominantly include video poker. If you wish to play live dealer poker games and RNG (random number generator) poker games, you may need to visit an offshore casino site.
Live Dealer Casino Games: While Norwegian casinos “can” sometimes offer live dealer casino games, many of the smaller Norsk Tipping operated casinos do not provide this service. Again, you may be required to visit offshore casino sites if you wish to play a wealth of these titles.
Lottery, Keno and Bingo: Lottery games are run by Norsk Tipping, too. There are lottery games which include keno, and instant win titles such as Flax as well as Tipping and Oddsen for you to play. The Norwegian state lottery games can also be found at Norsk Tipping casinos, so everything is under one roof in most cases.
Of course, we have looked at online casino games above, but that is not all that Norwegian players like to play. As most of the best Norwegian online casinos tend to cover many different aspects of gambling in one site, it is worth looking at the other aspects of betting online in Norway. These games include:
Sports Betting: Fully legal in Norway. Norwegian players who fancy a crack at sports betting can do often do so from within online casinos. However, the range of markets which are available are a touch on the small side compared to their international counterparts.
Bingo Rooms: There are one or two bingo rooms, but not many. These are also part and parcel of a typical Norsk Tipping casino domain. Bingo games tend to be limited but are played by a small number of Norwegian players.
Taxes on Big Wins at Norwegian Casinos
Norway has relatively straightforward rules regarding taxes on gambling. Anything a player wins at a Norsk Tipping or Norwegian licensed online casino is not subject to tax for the most part. There are one or two exceptions, such as players who are professional gamblers. However, it is a different scenario if you should win at an offshore casino.
As mentioned, Norway does try and block access to offshore casinos. However, they do not go overboard with this, and they do punish players who do so. What they do require, though, is that any players who win over 10000 NOK must pay income tax on those winnings. These rule aims to differentiate between winnings acquired at state-owned monopolies, and those won abroad.
Even this tax law has not had much of an impact in stopping Norwegian players from betting online at offshore casinos. While you are physically required to fill out an income tax form stating what you have won, many Norwegian players simply choose not to do so.
The Best Norwegian Online Casinos to Join Today
At this point, we have looked at Norwegian gambling laws, and we have taken an in-depth look at the many features of casinos run by Norsk Tipping and Norsk Risktoto. It is safe to say that casinos run by these two monopolies are legal and amongst the most reliable for Norwegian players to enjoy online gaming at. However, they are hardly the best casinos out there.
Casinos run by those two Norwegian monopolies often fall behind other, international casino sites in terms of what they can offer. For this reason, many Norwegians opt to play at offshore domains. If you do decide to play at the best foreign online casinos for Norwegian players, what should you look for?
Security and Safety: Norwegian online casinos will be licensed by the Norwegian government. However, offshore casinos will not be. This does not mean that you cannot find safe and secure foreign casinos which cater to Norwegians. On the contrary, there are many such sites which do so. If you do opt to play at such sites, make sure that they feature renowned licenses, such as those issued from the United Kingdom, Malta, or Gibraltar.
Greater Variety of Games: One of the drawbacks of the monopolised Norwegian online casinos is that they seldom have an extensive selection of games. Sure, they can offer you sports betting, lottery gaming and casino action all under one roof, but the selection of games is limited. There are many foreign casinos out there which can offer you all the above but in greater variety. If you do want to play at an offshore casino, ensure that they can provide you with a larger collection of renowned games than your typical Norsk Tipping site.
Norwegian Payment Methods: Most top Norwegian offshore casinos offer gameplay in your language. They can also provide you with Norway-friendly payment methods. Understandably, you are not going to want to send bank transfers with your Norwegian banks, as they are under orders to block such transactions. However, the best Norwegian casinos operating offshore will carry a variety of other payment methods which you can use, such as e-wallets, prepaid cards, and perhaps even cryptocurrencies.
Norwegian Support: Just because an online casino is not licensed out of Norway does not mean that it will not aim its services at Norwegian players. Many of the world’s leading internet betting sites do this. In fact, many go above and beyond what is required. Some will even offer Norwegian support. This can vary from an FAQ guide written in Norwegian, right up to providing live chat, e-mail, and telephone support (toll-free, of course) in your language of choice. Moreover, the Norwegian currency can often be used not just to deposit or withdraw with, but also to place bets in games. These are all features which will likely be appealing to Norwegian players.
Renown, Experience and Responsible Gaming: it does not really matter whether your chosen online casino caters exclusively to Norwegians or is licensed in Norway at all. What really matters is the level of safety, security, and fair play it provides players. Naturally, a license is of critical importance (and a good one at that), as we have already mentioned. However, the best casinos for players in Norway will also promote responsible gaming. They will have deposit limits, wagering caps, timeouts, and self-exclusion periods. They will also have experience under their belt, and an excellent track record when it comes to providing players with a fair, transparent and security service. Look for certifications, accreditations, and recommendations. Also look to ensure that they are regulated, audited, and receive favourable reviews from players.
Norwegian players have two quite different types of online casinos and gambling sites that they can choose to sign up and get involved with. Naturally, there are those Norwegian licensed, state-owned monopolies. These are fine, perfectly safe, provide a variety of different gambling options, and are heavily regulated. They do lack a large selection of games, though.
By contrast, you also have Norwegian offshore casinos, which provide a greater and more extensive selection of games, and can be just as safe and secure as Norwegian licensed casinos, but may not offer as much of a Norway-specific experience at the state-owned sites. The message you can take from this is that you are free to chop and choose to play at whichever type of online casino sees fit. Both types of domains can represent the absolute best online casinos in Norway, so it is up to you how you wish to play online.