Freelancers needed - please get in touch if interested - click here

Games and casino in the Nordics

This post is also available in: Norsk bokmål (Norwegian Bokmål)

In Scandinavia (and the Nordics) there are different laws when it comes to casinos – whether it is land-based or online. We have been asked about this and will answer to the best of our ability. Why is this really so? You may have been on holiday to neighboring countries in Norway and wondered why you can visit a casino in Denmark, Sweden or Finland, because you can actually do so without any problems.

If you travel outside the Nordics, there is even more confusion, something you can learn more about here , but in the main it is only Norway that stands out all the way up here in the north.

The rules are different

The reason is simple: the legislation is different between countries, and that is because it requires political will to change something in a country. We’re only going back a few years to see a different reality. For example, Sweden is a country that has chosen to move away from a monopoly (which is in Norway), something Denmark has also done. Finland also does not have a monopoly on online casinos, for example, but the only physical casino is owned by the state ( can be found in Helsinki) .

In Denmark, on the other hand, there are some individual physical casinos, which are privately owned, but it is under strict regulation. Sweden is the same (because Denmark is based on the Swedish model), while in Norway you will find neither physical nor online casinos that are not owned by the state – everything is a monopoly.

The license model trumps

The licensing model trumps, because this means that the individual state is guaranteed revenue, at the same time as there is free competition. This has proven to be a success in Norway’s neighboring countries, because with a license-based system, it will be an incentive for the individual casino to comply with the legislation in the country in question.

Disagreement in Norway

In Norway, there is great disagreement, because there is some research in the area, which shows that the system in Denmark went so well. They switched to a license-based system in 2018, and this has unilaterally proved to be an unreserved success.

There have been several hearings in the Storting to challenge the existing system, which is driven by several actors with interests. It is worth mentioning here that even associations for gambling addiction have proven to be supporters, because regulation of the casino prevents more addiction.

What can we expect?

That’s a good question. We can probably assume that Norway will eventually move away from the monopoly scheme. Even though there is a monopoly in Norway, there is nothing to prevent Norwegians from playing online, at foreign online casinos, which means lost revenue for the State. This is perhaps the most cynical view.

On the other hand, the casino is something most people look at as entertainment, without playing from house to house. For others, it is not as easy. Many Norwegians today cannot get as good help from the aid apparatus in Norway as they do might have gotten whether it was a license-based scheme and more control of casinos based abroad.