A Guide to Gambling in Nordic Countries

    The Nordic countries are renowned for their happy populations and liberal approach to restrictions. Across many industries, businesses face very few economic constraints. But despite this, the gambling industry, both in the casino or online, has very strict regulations in place.

    This has led to a lot of confusion for both residents and visitors in the Nordics as they’re unaware of what they can and can’t do. To clear up any confusion, we’ll look at what rules are in place and what alternative options are available when gambling is illegal…

    What policies are in place? 

    Despite gambling being a huge source of revenue for many other countries such as Malta, Nordic authorities don’t see it as much of a benefit. But, some nations in the Nordic family are more liberal than others when it comes to gambling.


    There is a license-based system in Denmark. This has been in place since 2012 and simply means that a gambling business must have received a certificate from the authorities before offering any casino games.


    As of January 2019, Sweden is also working under a new licence-based system. Because the regulation is so new, there have been many new games popping up, offering a lot of fun for Swedish players.


    Finland’s gambling industry has been run by government-controlled companies who all manage different games. But now, the three monopoly operators have merged into one entity that controls all of the different gambling choices available.


    In Iceland, there is no government-controlled gambling entity. Instead, they have restrictions in place to allow only licenced non-state companies and charity organisations to offer gambling. As a result, the country houses no casinos. If you do come across a casino in person, steer clear as it will be an illegal business.


    Gambling is largely illegal in Norway, but there is a monopoly in place that does offer some games such as the lottery. However, there are exemptions to these laws so citizens can still gamble.

    Gambling regulation exemptions

    With gambling mostly illegal in both Norway and Iceland, it can be off-putting to those who are fans of games such as slot machines. However, in both countries, there are alternative options for gamers to get their fix.


    Because gambling is largely illegal in Iceland, people have to turn to alternative options, such as online gambling from offshore hosts. For gambling in person, people will have to turn to bingo, sports betting with fixed odds, the lottery and scratch cards.


    Despite the general ban on gambling in Norway, many residents still access adrenaline-fuelled games. This is because there still is access to foreign online casinos.

    Since the laws are not as enforced as they could be, citizens can get around the gambling ban by using these online platforms and hiding their transactions. This leaves their gaming activity under the radar. The best way to do this is through using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

    Overall, residents and visitors of Nordic countries will be able to access their favourite gambling games. However, it’s worth being wary depending on the country you travel to.

    If you head to Norway, ensure you are careful of your activity and use sites that welcome alternative currencies to keep you on the right side of the law. And, if you are in Iceland, there will be no casinos to visit. Instead, expect to find your gambling fix online or via the country’s sports betting and lottery.


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