What Lessons Can We Learn from the Norwegian Gambling Monopoly?

The Nordic nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland share countless similar legislations. This was true till 2010 when Denmark decided to do away with the state monopoly on gambling and introduce a license-based system in 2011.

Sweden decided to follow suit and in 2019 announced a similar move. Norway and Finland, however, still have a gambling monopoly. The question now is why the two developed European nations are so keen on retaining the age-old monopoly even though there are no significant benefits?

Let’s focus on Norway’s story for the purpose of our study. People familiar with the European gambling regulations will know that most countries have a monopoly-based lottery system on casino games, but no such restrictions apply to sports betting. Norway, however, has a strict ban on brick-and-mortar casinos while the iGaming industry is monopolized.

But the question is, how well has that business model performed over the years? Norway’s gambling market is huge. With a population of over 5.4 million, Norway’s total Gross Gaming Revenue for 2019 stood at M€1.244. And almost half the amount arrived from the iGaming industry.

Generic Gambling Trend in Norway

Although the government has a monopoly on the local iGaming industry, offshore operators account for 27% of the local market. Gambling is prevalent in Norway, and according to countless independent surveys, 2/3rd of the local adult population indulges in some form of wagers at least once every year.

The Norwegian government in the past seriously considered a number of alternate legislative measures to modernize the gambling industry. And in 2015, it legalized online lottery by issuing supplementary lottery licenses to five private operators. Although those licenses are still valid, operational feasibility has drastically reduced.

According to lawmakers, strict regulations are in place to dissuade gambling in Norway, but as evident by now that vision has failed considerably. In reality, gambling revenue is a major addition to the state coffers, and although Norway’s purse is quite full thanks to its natural oil and gas reserves, the authorities treat gambling revenue as the Golden Goose.

What is it Like to Gamble in Norway?

As evident, there are a ton of gambling regulations in Norway. Mandatory ID verification has been in existence since the initial days while there are tight restrictions on daily wagering and losses at state-owned Norsk Tipping. Offshore gambling platforms operate out of a grey area in the regulations, although the government hasn’t taken an active interest in blocking access.

According to a consumer survey, a majority of Norwegian punters aren’t aware that big brands like Betsson and Unibet aren’t licensed to operate in the nation. The Norwegian market is home to hundreds of local operators too, like the ones casinoselfie presents, are available in multiple regional languages.

While Norway’s gambling monopoly isn’t ideal, there are lots of positives to take away. For instance, the state-owned lotteries and horse betting operators offer great products and services to the punters. However, the lawmakers need to reign in the offshore casinos and legalize the industry to boost revenue in the long run.

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