The Scandinavians sure love their online casino and sports betting. In fact, many of the finest, largest and first online casinos, casino game developers, betting companies and payment providers hail from Northern Europe, and Sweden in particular. The Scandinavians have a strong culture of horse racing, lotteries, bingo, card games and other forms of gambling. They were among the first to embrace the concept of online gambling. In spite of this the Scandinavian gambling markets are some of the most strictly regulated ones in the world.
The Scandinavian gambling laws and regulations are especially hard on physical casinos, outlawing them completely in Norway, and allowing only state owned casinos in Sweden. While the Danes are slightly more easygoing, their gambling authority has been getting more proactive and frequently bans casino websites from the country.
As the 2020 pandemic keeps Europeans at home, government agencies are coming down hard on online gambling. Closing down casinos, withdrawing licenses and restricting bonuses, let’s have a look at the current state of casinos in Scandinavia.
Sweden - One of the world’s strictest licenses
Make no mistake, Sweden is a lucrative and huge market for online gambling. The nation with a modest population of around 10 million is by far the most populous one in Scandinavia. The Swedes are responsible for some of the biggest names in the online gambling world, including but not limited to: NetEnt, Betsson, LeoVegas, Yggdrasil, ComeOn!, CherryCasino and QuickSpin, all of which operate on a global scale. The Swedes were very liberal in their views on online gambling, until suddenly in 2019 the government imposed one of the strictest licenses in the world.
Sweden has a government gambling monopoly, which means that all forms of physical gambling has to be state owned. This is why you won’t find more than 4 brick and mortar casinos in all of Sweden, all with the same name and operated by the government. The old monopoly did not used to mention online gambling, and the state owned gambling took a hard hit when the Swedes went for online gambling sites instead. Enter the license, which imposes an 18% tax on online gambling, as well as giving the state the right to fine and even ban casinos it considers to be breaking the rules. As the current pandemic keeps people at home, the Swedish Gambling Authority has even reduced all gambling bonuses to €10, a rule that will stay in effect for the rest of 2020. At Swedish casino experts CasinoGurun you can find out more about the Swedish gambling laws and restrictions.
Denmark - Blocking un-licensed providers
As of Juli 2020, the Danish government has blocked access to almost 100 gambling websites considered to be illegal. The Danish gambling regulation is partly liberalised, and the most open one in Scandinavia. While you can visit traditional casinos and enjoy a vast number of online casino in Denmark, lotteries are still strictly monopolized.
Norway - Government gambling monopoly
The Norwegian market, much like the Swedish one, is facing a government monopoly. Norway however, does not have a license, but simply bans all private gambling operators. There are no brick and mortar casinos in Norway, and online gambling websites are not allowed to use the local “.no” domains. The government has so far been unsuccessful in preventing Norwegians from playing at foreign gambling websites, and Norway remains a very lucrative market for online casino and sports betting.