Norway is one of the most heavily regulated gambling countries in the world, but despite strict state controls, it still has some surprising casino trends. What has been seen in the northern European country may be a lesson to other countries that impose similar restrictions on casino and gaming operators.
Gambling certainly isn’t illegal in the country. However, the government has licensed only a couple of operators to offer games of chance and other forms of betting to players and punters.
One of those is Norsk Rikstoto, and the other is Norsk Tipping, and both operators are actually owned by the state. The first operator is the only one licensed to offer betting on horse races.
The second operator is overseen by Norway’s Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs. It offers players keno, poker, lotteries, scratch cards, and the interactive video terminals that replaced land-based slot machines.
Slots Were On an Upward Trend
Slots were legal in Norway for a time, and they were certainly on an upward trend. They proved so popular, that the government eventually banned them in 2007.
In 1990, slots contributed a fairly modest NOK200 million to the gaming and lottery industry. Compare that figure to 2001, when slots brought in NOK9 billion. Impressive, right?
It gets even bigger. In 2004, that’s just 3 years later, slots brought in NOK26 billion. This was not the best of news for a government that likes to set tight limits on the amount of money players can bet.
The interactive video terminals that finally replaced slots in 2009 are subject to stricter laws than slots were. One of those laws is that players need a special card to be able to play on the terminals.
Players Go Online
Norwegian players couldn’t get enough of slots, and government interference wasn’t going to stop them. In fact, the banning of slots coincided with the rise of the smartphone.
Players realised they had an easy way to access online casinos and still spin the reels. The number of online and mobile casinos that accept players from the country increased quickly.
In 2010, a newly passed law made it mandatory for banks to decline debit and credit card transactions at land-based and online casinos. Players simply started using other payment methods we describe on our Banking page.
The demand for online casinos in Norway has been so great; Norsk Tipping even opened one of its own.