Where can we bet securely and which are the leading bookmakers in Norway?
The table below shows the leading online betting sites for Norwegian customers. There, players will find reliable support and different options for sports betting and casino games.
Betting in Norway has a complex history, with many types still illegal today, and the rest heavily regulated. Although the betting opportunities are severely limited to protect punters, this does not stop them from accessing whatever they want from international sites, which are far more varied, and provide far greater betting opportunities.
Interesting Facts about Betting in Norway
- The minimum age to gamble in Norway is 18, although teenagers younger than that can purchase scratch tickets
- Unlike many other nations, players must pay tax on winnings they make from international betting sites, not just national ones
- Although many forms of gambling are illegal, the Norway betting scene is worth approximately $5.4 billion each year
- Approximately 2.2 million people in Norway gamble legally
- Before they became illegal, slot machines made up over 60% of the total gambling revenue for all types of gambling
- Despite being heavily regulated and limited, the legal betting market has grown 65% since 2012
Gambling Legislation and Laws
Norway has relatively strict laws and regulations when it comes to gambling, limiting what kinds are legal and what are not. The Totaliser Act of 1927 made horse betting legal, and gave the rights to offer bets solely to Norsk Risktoto, effectively establishing a monopoly in that market. The 1992 Gaming Act legalized sports betting, lotteries, and other forms of gambling, giving Norsk Tipping monopoly of the sports betting market also.
Up until very recently, casino games and slots had been banned. In 2015, Norway introduced legislation that makes it okay to play, provided the games adhere to strict rules, and the stakes are low.
It is illegal for Norwegians to bet online using foreign websites. Both Norsk Risktoto and Norsk Tipping offer online services to accompany their offline betting, but all other forms of online gambling are banned. Although there are specific punishments (fines and/or jail time), it would appear that the Norwegian government are doing very little to persecute people who play on overseas sites.
Competition between Operators
There is a monopoly on all forms of gambling that are legal in Norway. There are two companies that are licensed by the state to provide gambling services – Norsk Tipping offers runs lotteries, keno and sports betting, and Norsk Risktoto offers horse racing. There are no other companies that are legally allowed to offer these services, and all other forms of gambling (such as casino games) are illegal, both online and offline.
European betting sites have lobbied against these state monopolies in a number of different countries. However, the Norweigan government has so far refused to alter their stance. Although other countries have acknowledged that state monopolies are detrimental to overseas businesses, Norway places the safety and needs of punters first and believes that a monopoly is the safest option, at the expense of bookmakers.
Bonuses from Norwegian Bookmakers
There is a wide range of bonuses and promotions that bettors from Norway can opt into receiving. When punters first register with a site, generally they will be offered some kind of welcome promotion. This usually comes in the form of free bets, or a bonus that will match their first deposit, so they can start betting as soon as possible. Although these bonuses may look attractive, many have high wagering requirements, which actually make it difficult to redeem any actual winnings from them.
Most Norwegian bookmakers also offer promotions to their existing customers, to encourage ongoing usage of the site. These bonuses are often more varied and specific to certain betting markets. There are different types of bets for specific sports, which involve bet accumulators, or better odds. There are also bonuses for casino games, including free bets or other lavish prizes, such as holidays or new cars.
Betting Features and Options in the Norwegian Bookmakers
International betting sites are in fierce competition with each other to provide the best services, in order to gain the most clients. As a result of this, Norwegian bettors are given the opportunity to engage in betting services with the latest and greatest features, all designed to make gambling a better experience. Some of the newest features commonly offered to customers include:
Available Payment Methods
Norwegian betting services offer and accept a few different deposit and withdrawal methods so that each bettor can find something that is convenient for them. The government has cracked down on banks in recent times, demanding that banks refuse to process payments going to international betting sites, limiting the use of debit and credit cards for deposits and withdrawals. While some punters may still be able to use this as a form of payment on some sites, they should remain wary, and have alternatives in case something happens and it ceases to work.
Alternatively, bettors can still use options such as PaySafeCard (a type of prepaid card) and e-wallets like Skrill and Neteller. PayPal, a form of payment common in other parts of the world, cannot be used in Norway, because the company refuses to be complicit in facilitating illegal online gambling activities.
The form of currency used in Norway is the Norwegian krone (NOK). While there are a few sites that will accept this as a form of currency to bet with, there are also many that will not. When that is the case, punters must convert their money into a form that is more widely used, such as GBP or EUR. Bettors should be aware that while many companies will offer these services, there can often be hefty hidden fees, and in some cases, it is just better to look for a site that deals with NOK.
Mobile Betting in Norway
Mobile betting in Norway is increasing in popularity and does not look like it will slow down at all in the near future. Sites are catering to the market demand and offering free apps to download for both Apple and Android (and sometimes Windows) devices. These apps allow for better usability on handheld, touch screen devices, creating opportunities to bet anywhere, any time.
There are also some sites that will offer bonuses simply for downloading or using the app version of a site. Punters who know they will be regularly using mobile betting might wish to find a site that offers them these kinds of bonuses, simply for playing on a different format.
While all forms of online gambling that are done on international sites are illegal, there are also certain types of casino gambling that are also illegal by themselves. Although the government has recently just legalized low-stakes poker, there are still some card games that are illegal, as well as slots. Despite this, there are still a number of high-quality online casinos that are willing to accept Norwegian players and provide for them what is missing from the legal, regulated market.
Leading Sports for Betting in Norway
Sports betting is popular in Norway, and there are numerous different sports categories to choose from. Here are some of the nations’ favourites:
Football is generally the biggest sport on any betting site, as it is the most popular sport to bet on globally. Each site offers a number of different games to bet on, as well as different types and styles of bets, so there is something for everyone.
- Ice Hockey
Ice hockey is popular due in part to the prowess of the national team, but also due to the popularity of the sport in a country that has the opportunity to practice a lot during long, icy winters. Most sites that offer coverage of the sport will offer Norwegian players the chance to bet on local games in international championships, as well as leagues that do not include representation from the country.
Handball is a sport that is quietly gaining popularity in a number of different European countries, Norway included. The fast-paced game is a favourite for betting due to the often-changing leads and odds, leaving bettors on the edges of their seats.
- Winter Sports
The climate in Norway means that winter sports like skiing and snowboarding are very popular. Interest in these sports always peaks during the Winter Olympics, although there are other smaller competitions more frequently that Norwegians love to bet on. Most betting sites offer coverage on these sports to some degree, although punters may need to look hard to find local events on betting sites.
The Profile of a Norwegian Bettor
Gamblers in Norway are more likely to be male – 62% of adult men gamble, but only 54% of women. Gamblers are also increasingly betting using their mobile devices instead of desktop sites, which is encouraging providers to improve their mobile services in order to cater to demand. Despite the fact that gambling on international sites is illegal, interest in these overseas bookmakers is increasing, and more and more punters are favouring them over the limited options offered by the state.
Is online gambling legal in Norway?
While it is legal to gamble using the two state-approved betting sites (Norsk Tipping and Norsk Risktoto), every other form of online gambling is considered illegal.
Are there any taxes for Norwegian players on their winnings?
Yes, players who win more than NOK 10,000 per gambling event are required to pay taxes on their win. This includes winnings that were made overseas (through legal channels) as well. If a player wins less than NOK 10,000, it is exempt.
Can I open an account and play in NOK?
Yes, there are a number of different international websites that offer NOK as a form of currency to bet with. Punters should check before they register that this currency is accepted. Even if it is not, many sites will offer conversion services. However, these often have high fees.
How to choose the best online betting site in Norway?
There is no single betting site that can be considered the best in Norway, and it is generally down to personal preference. However, there are a few things that punters should remember when they are looking for a site to play on. Although the site will not legally be licensed in Norway, it should be licensed somewhere else that has high standards for bookmakers, such as Australia or Great Britain. This gives you an indication of the quality of the site. The site should also display a comprehensive safety policy about consumer data so that punters know their personal information is as safe as possible.
Are there any betting restrictions for players in Norway?
Yes, legally Norwegian players are restricted to the two local, state-approved betting sites Norsk Tipping and Norsk Risktoto. These are the only betting sites that are licensed to operate in Norway and online for Norwegian customers, and their range of services is somewhat limited compared to what is offered overseas. However, if punters really want to, it is easy enough to access betting sites online, sidestepping the legal monopoly for greater options.
Is there a punishment for betting on illegal online sites?
Yes, the punishment for getting caught illegally betting is a fine and/or a jail sentence. However, it is very rare that the government punishes an individual, although not unheard of. Bettors should make informed choices before they choose to engage in the international betting market.
Is betting on foreign websites safe?
Ultimately there is always going to be some risk when betting on an international site, due to the fact that it is illegal, and there is no legal support if anything goes wrong. Despite this, a number of overseas bookmakers are highly established and reputable, and customers are likely to be able to play safely without fear of any issues from the site itself.
Very little can be said about the state of legal online gambling in Norway. The two operators that can be used legally by Norwegians tend to have unfavourable odds and limited options. Norway used outdated and antiquated laws to govern today’s betting landscape, which has a heavy focus on online gambling that the laws do not account for. The governments’ refusal to give up the state monopoly on betting services mean that punters must choose to either severely limit their gambling options, or look illegally overseas at much more favourable markets.
Although the Norwegian government means well and wants to protect the safety of its citizens when it comes to gambling, their approach does not stop them from accessing international betting sites. All it does is leave them open and unprotected against cases of fraud, which can cause severe problems. Only time will tell whether the government will change its approach to gambling safety and open up their regulated market, or whether punters will be forced to continue to resort to illegal international sites.