All about gambling in Norway - income taxes and policy of government
Norway – a country in northern Europe, it is located on the Scandinavian peninsula. The country has more than 5 million inhabitants. It is the largest producer of oil and gas in northern Europe. Norway has strict approach to many things, including gambling.
Legal gambling in Norway is represented by lotteries, betting on horse racing, poker, and some table gambling games. Everything is controlled by two national companies and foreign operators are harassed in every possible way. For example, their cards are not served in Norwegian banks.
Slot machines are prohibited in Norway since 2007. They were replaced by interactive video terminals which are more comfortable for players. Video slots for are also prohibited, but free slot machines are available for use and may only be restricted by ISPs. They either do not comment on it or claim that slots involve gambling entertainment.
Whether gambling is legal in Norway
Only two state-owned companies in the country are involved in gambling businessin Norway, there are allowed only some types of gambling. At the same time, Norway is known for professional poker players. Recently in this field Annette Obrestad has become famous – the woman and the youngest player to ever get a bracelet of World Series of Poker.
A Brief History of ”Norsk Tipping” and “Norsk Rikstoto”
As it was already mentioned, the two state-owned companies hold in their hands the whole gambling business in Norway. These are “Norsk Tipping” and “Norsk Rikstoto”.
Norsk Tipping – a lottery company with headquarters in the Hamar city. The company offers a wide range of lotteries, sports and instant games. It is managed by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, which determines how much time and money can Norwegians spend on gambling.
The company was founded in 1948. Its income is spent on the development of the Norwegian sports and culture. When it was founded, the country had only football betting. The block of shares was owned by three owners:
- State – 40%;
- The Norwegian Sports Federation – 40%;
- Football Association of Norway – 20%.
In 1993, the state acquired 100% stake in Norsk Tipping.
The company's website was launched in 1999. In November 2005, the firm entered the mobile phone Norway gambling market.
Norsk Tipping offers the following games:
- Gambling: Lotto, Viking Lotto, Keno, Joker;
- Game with skills: Tipping, Oddsen;
- Flax scratch game;
- Extra TV game.
These games require special registration and payment card. Only those games which are offered by Norsk Tipping company are legal.
Norsk Rikstoto – a company that deals exclusively with horse racing in Norway. It was founded on 24 September 1982, to legally run a sweepstake, called V6.
Co-founders of the organization are the Norwegian Trotting Association and the Norwegian Jockey Club. Norsk Rikstoto headquarters is located in Oslo.
In 1996, the company got the right to be in charge of all Norway gambling monopoly in the country. For a long time, it has its own Rikstoto Direkte TV channel. 3.7% of the annual income of the enterprise goes to the state.
Among all types of totes in Norway only bets on horse races are permitted. There are six tracks for trots horse racing and one – for gallop.
Features of gambling legislation in Norway
The age limit for gambling in Norway is 18 years. Those who are younger, are allowed to play only scratch cards. It is interesting that citizens are allowed to conduct gambling parties at home – as long as it does not turn into a business.
The government systematically tries to oust the foreign companies from the Norwegian market. In June 2010 the government approved a law under which all Norwegian banks are not allowed to serve the credit and debit cards used in land-based and online casinos around the world.
Players are required to conform to Norway gambling rules and to submit tax statements on winnings, which they got outside Norway.
How are Norwegian lotteries regulated?
Lottery and other gambling games in Norway have been always regulated very strictly. According to the Norwegian Code of 1902 only those games that were offered by holders of special licenses from competent organizations were legal. As a result, the games were banned and illegal operators were punished harshly.
Legislation that followed later, a little softened the situation:
- In 1927 Totalisator Act came into action;
- In 1992 – Gaming Act;
- In 1995 – Lottery Act.
These laws give the state monopoly on gambling. Act in 1927 gave basis for the legalization of horse racing, which was controlled the Ministry of Agriculture. The normative act of 1992 gave Norsk Tipping exclusive rights for lottery and football betting. The role of the controlling authority was played by the Ministry of Culture and church.
Act in 1995 was more generalized and described all kinds of lotteries and games. It allowed social institutions to organize gambling, at a profit for society.
How are slot machines controlled?
Total revenue from slot machines was growing in such way:
- 1990 – 200 million NOK (USD 24,32 billion);
- 2001 – 9 billion NOK (USD 1,09 billion);
- 2004 – 26 billion NOK (USD 3,16 billion).
In 2004, land-based slot machines brought 64% of revenue and 43% of its revenue by online slots. This growth occurred due to the fact there is poor Norway gambling legislation regarding the slots regulation. Lotteries Act gave the right to conduct gambling only to charitable organizations.
But, at the same time, it did not forbid private companies to cooperate with these organizations to place slot machines there and share the revenue.
Since 2002, the Norwegian authorities began to take actions. They began to limit the number of machines, because with the growth of the industry has increased the number of gambling problems, such as gambling addiction. The Norwegian government has completely banned slot machines in 2007. In 2009, there were interactive video terminals – a new form of slots. It was necessary to have special card to play them.
Modern gaming industry in Norway
With all these constraints, Norway has the third place in Europe according to the number of gamblers. Many online casino sites provide services for people to make gambling in Norway, who want to gamble.
Land-based gambling market
Today in Norway are operating IVT – interactive video terminals. That is how they differ from slot machines that worked earlier:
- usage of special game card;
- the age limit of 18 years;
- you can spend 400 NOK (USD 49,22) a day;
- you can spend 2,200 NOK (USD 270,71) during one month;
- obligatory break after 1 hour of games;
- the maximum rate is 50 NOK (USD 6,15);
- the minimum duration of the game – 3 seconds;
- all terminals connected in one network with central server.
Below there is a list of racetracks, which organize horse races:
- Bergen Travpark – in Bergen;
- Bjerke Travbane – Oslo;
- Drammen Racecourse – in Drammen;
- Forus Travbane – in Stavanger;
- Leangen Travbane – in Trondheim;
- Momarken Travbane – in Eldsberge;
- Øvrevoll Racecourse – Oslo.
Online gambling market in Norway
Nowadays there are more than hundred sites that accept players from this country according to Norway gambling Commission. Quite often they have Norwegian interface and Norwegian krones (NOK) for payment.
- 189 online casinos;
- 22 online poker sites;
- 35 sites with online sports betting;
- 33 online bingo sites;
- 26 mobile casino sites;
- 5 sites of online lotteries;
- 4 online DFS sites (daily fantasy sports).
Online casino for Norwegians
As an example we can take top five online casinos, with Norwegian interface:
- Omni Slots;
- Play Grand Casino;
- Betcart casino;
- Spinson Casino.
All types of "live" poker in Norway are prohibited. Previously there were many underground rooms to play poker, but until 2007 there were left none. However, Norwegian players didn’t become discouraged.
Norwegian Championship – a local poker tournament with large audience. It is attended only by Norwegian citizens. Though, because of strict laws on homeland, the tournament is made abroad.
The most famous Norwegian poker player is Annette Obrestad. This girl won the WSOP and 2 million USD when she was 18 years old.
Popular online gambling Norway rooms with Norwegian interface in 2016:
- Poker Stars;
- Full Tilt;
- Betway Poker;
- Bet365 Poker;
- Unibet Poker.
Norwegian online bookmakers
Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto have a monopoly on sports betting in Norway. They have sites where bets are accepted. These portals are very popular in the country.
Foreign bookmakers tried to enter the market, but the government prevented this by banning foreign brands. The situation is unlikely to change for the better. Especially if you take into account the prohibition in 2010 on bank transactions for gambling sites.
Among the most popular bookmakers with Norwegian interface in 2016 are:
- Betcart Sports;
- Betway Sports;
- ComeOn! Sports;
Bingo became popular in Norway in 1960s. Norsk Bingo AS supports 30 bingo halls. Although the game is not as popular as in English-speaking countries, it still has a lot of admirers. Online bingo is controlled by Norsk Tipping. The same company offers “Extra” game, which is similar to bingo.
Mobile online casino
In Norway, there is no mobile casino. Players are forced to use foreign services because Norway online gambling laws forbid it. The mobile market in the country is very developed, everyone has a cell phone, and 6 out of 10 have a smartphone or tablet. A significant share of traffic can be spent on the foreign mobile casinos.
The most popular lottery in Norway is Norsk Tipping Lotto, which has been working since 1986. There are available other European lotteries, for example, Euro million and Euro jackpot. Lotto was legalized in 2001. Among the sites that offer to play the lotteries are: LottoPalace, Scratch Mania, Euro Lotto, Gratorama.
As in many other European countries, fantasy sports in Norway is still not regulated by law. At the same time, there are a lot of sports fans among Norwegians, which promises good prospects to this area of gambling. The only on the DFS website with Norwegian interface is FanTeam.
There isn’t yet any improvements in the situation with gambling business in Norway. Gambling games are treated in a very strict manner here, they are totally controlled in this country. Gambling business and gambling companies in Norway obviously bring a lot of money, but it doesn’t mean anything to Norway.
In recent years, the Norwegian government is focusing on problems with gambling addiction. Though in fact, such a strict regulation isn’t very helpful. Number of addicted players is not that big, they always find a loophole, and the majority of them suffers because of it.
New laws may lead to a completely different effect than it was expected. In 2007 Norwegian Gaming Board analysts showed that out of 3,000 respondents players only 1.3% think that they have gambling addiction. A similar study was conducted in 2010, after the introduction of new laws and it showed that the number of addicted people increased to 2.1%.
The Norwegian government should seriously think about how it regulates gambling in the country. Maybe it would be better to allow online gambling and to provide equal opportunities for domestic and foreign companies. In any case, the gambling business in Norway shows good results, which gives reasons to be optimistic in this question.