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Why Land-based Casinos Are Prohibited In Norway

poker chips and cards
Credit: Unsplash/Esteban Lopez

As it is, there are no land-based casinos in Norway. They are prohibited by the Norwegian government, which has a monopoly on gambling in the country. The reasons for this aren’t so simple, though. Norway has a long history of gambling and various gambling regulations. Today, they have one of the most tightly regulated gambling markets in the North. Learn more about why land-based casinos are prohibited in Norway and what other options you have to gamble in the country.

If you’re living in a country where you’re used to visiting a land-based casino on special occasions, it might be hard to understand why land-based casinos are prohibited in Norway. The brief explanation for this is that Norway has decided to regulate gambling in such a way that only governmentally appointed providers can legally offer gambling in Norway. This doesn’t mean that you can’t gamble at foreign casinos from Norway, but just that the only casinos based in Norway are the ones appointed by the government. As it is, the only providers based in Norway are Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, which are both regulated by the government. None of these have land-based casinos, and so there are no land-based casinos in Norway.

Some would say that gambling is strictly regulated in Norway. This is a truth with modifications. On one hand, it is strictly regulated as there are only a few licensed providers that are allowed to offer gambling in and from Norway. On the other hand, it is fairly less regulated compared to other countries, as Norwegian players are perfectly allowed to play at off-shore online casinos if they want to ( there are many comparison websites like where users can get relevant and trustworthy information as well as a list of the most popular online casinos in Norway). While you can easily play online casino games in Norway, you aren’t able to visit a land-based casino in the country.

Off-Shore Online Casinos Aren’t Regulated

Even though it seems like the gambling market in Norway is highly regulated, it is important to understand that the online gambling market for Norwegian players actually isn't. Off-shore gambling providers can’t market themselves in Norway, but if they’re able to attract Norwegian players, they can do so without any form of regulation. This means that it’s up to the individual player to ensure that they’re playing at a safe and secure casino if they should choose to do so. The individual players aren’t secured in the same way as they are in the neighboring countries. This is also the main reason why the laws and regulations on gambling are continuously discussed in Norway. As of today, it is still unclear how and whether the Norwegian laws on online off-shore gambling will be changed.

The Gambling Market In Norway

The regulatory state of gambling in Norway obviously has a massive impact on the gambling market in the country. When looking at statistics on the gambling market from Norsk Tipping themselves, you’ll clearly see how the monopoly has an effect on gambling habits. The numbers from 2020 show that Norsk Tipping lotteries and scratch games in themselves take up 47.6% of the market. They also provide interactive games (9.8%), terminal games (2.4%) and sports betting (6.9%). Off-shore non-regulated gambling providers only took up 14.9% of the market in 2020.


The statistics clearly show that it’s still the low-risk games, such as lotteries and scratch games, that are attracting the most players. They have a long history in Norway as opposed to riskier games, such as many online casino games, which are relatively new on the market. But as the Norwegian gambling market is growing, there’s an increase in online casino games as well.

Comparing Norway To Sweden And Denmark

Even though there are many ways in which the Nordic countries are similar, their regulations on gambling are not one of them. When looking at the number of land-based casinos, you’ll quickly be able to tell the difference. In Norway, there are no land-based casinos due to their monopoly. In Sweden, they only have four land-based casinos which are all subject to state monopoly as well. In Denmark, on the other hand, you’ll find plenty of casinos around the country. These must have a Danish license in order to provide various types of gambling. The amount of land-based casinos in each country is based on the big differences in their gambling laws.

In both Sweden and Denmark, the online casino and betting market is open to competition. This means that all companies are allowed to offer gambling in the two respective countries as long as they’ve got a gambling license. Getting a license to offer gambling entails ensuring safety for players in various ways and restricting bonus offers and games. The legal gambling providers are free to market themselves, but their marketing is also restricted in various ways. In general, it’s easier to get a license in Denmark compared to Sweden, which is probably also why their unregulated market is a lot smaller.

Norway Has Both Bingo Halls And Gaming Venues

While you won’t find an actual casino in Norway, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t options when looking to go out on the town to gamble and play games. The stately operated gambling provider Norsk Tipping runs quite a lot of venues where you can find both gaming and gambling opportunities. You won’t be able to play poker and roulette, but you’ll find lots of other options. They also run more than 100 bingo halls where you can go to play bingo and other gaming machines as well. This makes it possible for Norwegian players to have fun gambling at land-based sites as well as online.

The Future Of Gambling In Norway

The reason behind the rather strict regulations on gambling in Norway is due to a long history of issues with gambling. During the 00s, they experienced quite a massive growth in demand for gambling. While this isn’t a problem in itself, it did mean that they suddenly have a growing problem with gambling addiction. This is the defining factor that led to tighter restrictions on gambling in the country. It’s also vital to keep in mind when considering the future of gambling in Norway. They are very aware of the potential risks of looser restrictions on gambling. Even though the laws on gambling are continuously discussed, it is mostly in the context of trying to reduce the risks of off-shore operators in the country. There are obviously also various cultural factors influencing this decision.

Last Word:

When looking into the future of Norwegian gambling, there is nothing indicating that they’re going to loosen their regulations on gambling anytime soon – quite the contrary. This also means that the chances of visiting land-based casinos in Norway in the future are slim. As mentioned, there are plenty of gaming venues and bingo halls to visit when looking to gamble outside the house, but an actual land-based casino with roulette and poker tables won’t be emerging anytime soon. So, if looking to play the popular casino games in Norway, it will need to be online.

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