A Traveller´s Handbook: Betting in the Land of Fjords

In the beautiful landscape of Norway and reserved Norwegian mentality, where some of the most important values are tolerance and equality, – gambling has in many ways a distinctive form due to the country’s state monopoly on gaming activities. 

Unlike some of its counterparts like Sweden or Denmark, Norway strictly holds and limits its gambling industry to Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. Both licences and physical betting shops are reserved only to those two companies, both state owned. For example, Norsk Tipping has about 4,000 physical betting shops or commissioners across the country. By definition, commissioners are in fact grocery stores, kiosks and petrol stations that sell their products. The Norwegian gambling monopoly is rooted in the government’s desire to control the industry. They are marketing their exclusive possession of the service as the only way to ensure responsible gambling and prevent social issues associated with excessive gaming. While this “my way or a highway” approach has its merits, it also comes with its share of drawbacks.

One of the main cons of the gambling monopoly is the lack of diversity in the market. With only state owned entities allowed to have the betting licence, there is no competition and variety for consumers. The lack of competition leads to stagnation in innovation and a far less dynamic gambling environment compared to countries with a more liberal market.

In contrast, neighbours like Sweden and Denmark have opted for a more open and regulated gambling market. This approach allows private operators to enter the market, fostering healthy competition, innovation, and a broader range of gambling options. Mentality of people in Norway is to respect the decisions and not to question a lot, they have indeed their full trust in the authorities, so there is not much public discussion about the monopoly. But, you can still find some critics that argue how protection of the monopoly is only for the sake of the monopoly, and how strict monopoly only limits consumer choice and in reality does not prevent gambling addiction.

Despite the efforts of the Norwegian government to maintain a monopoly and discourage people from engaging with foreign gaming companies, online gambling remains a popular activity for many who seek diversity in the game offer. Foreign gaming companies are actively targeting Norwegian players, providing an alternative to the state-regulated options. But not all gaming companies out there are trustworthy, not all are good options just because. 

Therefore, above all, you should check which of these can be trusted, and to do so it is wise to visit an expert comparison site that is testing and weighing these foreign gambling companies, checking their licences and taking a deeper insight into their offers. The variety of games offered by these online platforms pose a significant competition to the limited options provided by the state. But you should indeed look for the trustworthy ones, if you really want to secure yourself and have a smooth gaming experience.

In conclusion, just as the beautiful Norwegian fjords differ from the landscape around their neighbouring countries, Norway’s gambling landscape stands out like a black sheep with its monotonous state monopoly. While the Norwegian state stands strongly behind its position that the monopoly in a way aims to ensure responsible gambling, it comes with a big question mark and several disadvantages, and above all a limited diversity in the market. Compared to neighbouring Scandinavian countries, we can see that their approach shows a path of higher competition and innovation. And in fact, the more liberal way is the only way a state can have real control over the flow of money and people’s gambling behaviour. Despite the state’s efforts, online gambling is still a frequent choice for many Norwegians, challenging the monopoly’s efficiency and fairness in the digital age.

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