Officially the world’s wealthiest country and the third-most happy nation according to the UN’s World Happiness Report, Norway is definitely the place to live if you had the power to just pick any country on the globe. All this translates into high wages and a plethora of social programs meant to ensure the wellbeing of every citizen. And when everything is taken care of in a country with such a strong economy, you get a large portion of disposable income for various hobbies. Add to this the Scandinavian preference towards gambling and you get a very welcoming climate for Norway bet sites. Football may not be as popular as in other European countries, however, it still represents the main catalyst for online betting in the region where over 30% of the adult population engages in online betting every week.
From a legislative point of view, however, all this demand for sports betting is met by a strict monopoly of state-owned companies. Norsk Rikoto (horse racing) and Norsk Tipping (sports betting) are the only legal betting sites on paper. However, Norwegian punters have an almost unlimited inventory of international betting sites they can wager at.
We’ve briefly mentioned Norway’s betting landscape from a legislative point of view. However, to answer the “is online sports betting legal in Norway?” question, we need to take a closer look at how betting is regulated. Ever since 1927, the Totalisator Act was passed as the first gambling law in Norway. It is then when horse racing is deemed legal and Norsk Riskoto gains full control over horse racing bets all across the country. It wasn’t until 1992 when the Gaming Act regulated other forms of gambling such as sports betting, lottery and all other games of chance and put everything under Norsk Tipping’s jurisdiction. Coincidentally or not, it is also the period when the online gambling industry starts to take shape.
With the internet expansion in full swing, there was a boom in betting sites. Norway was no stranger of the phenomenon and even though the state maintained its monopoly, the influx of international bookmakers couldn’t be ignored. This lead to a new law being drafted in 2008 and placed into effect on June 2010 that made online betting on foreign bookmakers illegal. Apart from going after international bookmakers, Norway also ordered its financial institutions to withhold any transactions towards such companies.
However, without showing any intention of liberalizing the market and allowing international bookies to apply for a license, Norway continued an uphill battle against international sportsbooks. Offering wider betting markets and more appealing odds, Norwegian punters rapidly deemed international operators as the best betting sites Norway had to offer. In January 2019, a lobby was formed by three of the most influential bookmakers in the industry, Betsson, GIG, and Kindred, that started a campaign to get Norwegian authorities to liberalize the market. However, as Norway is not an official member of the EU, there’s no real legislative background to support the lobby group actions nor can Norge be pressured by the EU Commission to undergo legislative changes. Meanwhile, Norway continues its clash against international bookmakers, by blocking domains, threatening with fines and doing whatever it takes to make sure the state-run monopoly remains at the top of the food chain.
Right from the start, we should make it clear that we’re referring to international betting sites in this section. With no real competition, none of the criteria listed below can be found at the legal betting sites in Norway. When identifying the best online betting sites in Norway, punters need to check for some clear indicators that they’re dealing with a world-class bookie. First off, a trustworthy license is mandatory. The best betting sites for Norway in terms of licensing authority are the ones bearing the MGA, UKGC or Spellinspektionen seal of approval. Support for the local currency, Norwegian Krone, is also a must to be able to bet without worrying about currency exchange fees. Also, it goes without saying that the bookie of choice needs to deliver high odds, rewarding bookmaker bonuses and a variety of both pre-match and live bets.
All the sportsbooks recommended on this page were tested to ensure they comply with every single point described above. So, you won’t have to waste time by manually checking each bookie, as you now have the proper tools to do so in an instant.
Despite the effort from the Norwegian Gambling Authority to block access to international bookies, policing the internet is not really achievable. So, to access top Norway betting sites that were blocked, you only need a VPN and access will be granted without too much effort. Furthermore, it is interesting to observe how the authorities decided to block certain sites while leaving huge ones such as many British ones freely accessible by Norsk punters. So, to sum things up, you shouldn’t have to go through too much trouble to access any international betting site from Norway.
Here’s where the situation gets a bit tricky if you are looking to bet in Norway. Starting with 2010, several payment options stopped supporting transactions towards international betting sites. This ban affects all credit and debit cards issued in Norway and, as a result, you can’t upload funds on Skrill with a debit card. However, if you still want to use the benefits of the ewallet, you can still upload funds to Skrill directly from your bank account and then use it to deposit at the bookmaker. New online betting Norge restrictions regarding payments are in discussion to allow local banks to stop collaborating with certain companies by name, rather than account number.
With all the energy invested by the Norwegian Gambling Authority, Norsk betting is still pretty diversified. Besides the international bookmakers, a couple of betting exchanges are also available in Norway. So, if you want to experience something new apart from Norsk bookmakere, feel free to head towards Betfair or Smarkets. Betting exchanges are more advantageous when it comes to odds as punters can set their own prices as long as there’s someone to back or lay their outcome.
Since the local authorities made it very clear that they’re against any international bookmaker operating in the country and there’s no protection coming from EU laws, the best way to file a complaint is to directly contact the regulatory authority ( UKGC, MGA, etc ). Also, you can send us a message and we’ll be your advocate for better communication with the bookmakers.