Gambling in Norway is regulated by the Totalisator Act 1927, the Gaming Scheme Act 1992, and the Lottery Act 1995 which control all types of legal gambling in the country. Any breach of the provisions of these acts is a criminal offence with offenders facing fines and/or prison terms.
Norwegian gambling operators must be licensed by the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority. However, a state monopoly gives almost exclusive rights to Norsk Tipping AS (Norsk Tipping) and Foundation Norsk Rikstoto (Norsk Rikstoto). In response, operators have launched gaming sites online where Norwegians can enjoy a broad range of gaming and casino sites, including sportsbooks, the best being reviewed at besteonlinecasinoinorge.com. Many are licensed by regulators outside of Norway.
Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto
Norsk Rikstoto offers gambling on horse races whilst Norsk Tipping, in operation since 1948, is responsible for betting on sports and other games. Both are state-owned, with the rules of play, service times, limits and more set by the government department responsible for protecting the country’s culture and affairs of the church.
Gambling licenses under the Lottery Act are only issued to organisations with a “socially beneficial” or humanitarian focus. All profits must be distributed for charitable and humanitarian purposes, which is why no commercial operator is under license from Norway’s regulator.
Justification for monopoly
Norway’s Parliament has justified the monopoly by saying the state is more successful at controlling online gambling than commercial operators, particularly in relation to problem gambling. In response, others argue that Norway’s regulator and consumer protection laws protect players, not the monopoly. In addition, the Norwegian Online Betting Association estimates the monopoly is costing the state NOK2 billion in lost tax revenue each year.
As long as a foreign-based operator holds a license in an EU Member State or EEA member state, if is perfectly legal for Norwegians to gamble on their websites without fear of breaching any Norwegian law. A breach of law only occurs if the operator is deliberately trying to evade Norwegian laws or deliberately targets Norwegian players.
In response, Norsk Tipping is trying to keep players onshore by offering progressive jackpots and other games, but this has had little impact with citizens accessing offshore sites, despite foreign firms barred from advertising their products or services, with bigger prize pools and a broader selection of games.
On 1 January 2021, Norway’s parliament enacted a legislative amendment to the gambling regulations to ban offshore operators placing advertisements online. This has meant that the Norwegian Media Authority (NMA) now has greater powers to order Norwegian internet service providers to exclude marketing material from these commercial businesses.
Under recently proposed legislation, Norwegians opening an account with an online gaming payments to online gaming sites may have to use the name of the company rather than just account numbers, which currently allows citizens to bypass the rules. The proposals also aim to unify the existing Lottery Act, Gaming Scheme Act and Totalisator Act and a hearing was concluded on 29 September 2020. If enacted in its current form, the proposed Act will strengthen the position of Norway’s regulator and expand its investigatory powers.