Will Post COVID-19 World Result in Europe Legalizing Online Gambling?

COVID has changed the world as we know it, and many companies have completely shut down operations. From office jobs to the gaming industry, nothing has been untouched by this pandemic. Everyone is considering the long-term changes we’ll see across all sectors, and it’s uncertain how the new normal will look. 

Gambling is no different, and players all over the continent are asking: Will the post-COVID EU legalize online gambling? Our expert in Norsk gambling affairs, Jorgen Aasgen, sheds some light on the topic. You can visit his profile. 

European Online Gambling

The European Union is a single state that lets each country set its legislation. It’s a huge plus for gamblers that Europe has legal sports betting. 

Other countries in Europe don’t have the same luck. Norway left the EU in 1994, which gives them the freedom to choose their laws. Sadly this is terrible news for the Norske Casinoer

Tight Laws in Norway

The Norske Casinoer has some of the most rigid laws working against them in Europe. Norway only has two legal gambling companies, Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. Any other site is illegal for Norwegians to use. 

Each company has its procedures of what is allowed and not allowed to offer. Risotto is the only Norwegian company that lets users bet on horse racing. Norsk Tipping is for all other games such as Lottery, Scratch, Keno, and other sports betting. Norway has set some guidelines for its gaming industry, including:

  • Age Restriction: Must be 18+ to play
  • All winnings are taxable
  • Illegal for businesses to facilitate gambling (other than Tipping and Rikstoto)
  • If a bank catches you gambling through a foreign operator, they’re allowed to freeze your account

Gambling Statistics

While Coronavirus has closed almost everything online gambling statistics show that more people are gambling online. Statista European Gambling indicates that Italy is spending the most on gambling online. 

Statista also states that the revenue estimate for the year 2020 in Europe is 24.7b. Most of it comes from sports betting, online lottery, and online casinos, but 6% of the revenue comes from online poker.

Casino Gambling Statistic says that 17% of UK citizens partake in online gambling. Surprisingly, the 62% increase in gambling in Norway isn’t seen as a benefit by the government.

Norway on Gambling 

With Norway’s strict laws on gambling, the government views the 62% increase as a problem. On top of the already strict rules, they’re looking to crack down further. The New Gambling Laws in Norway article by Times of Malta notes that less than 50% of the funds spent on gambling stay in the country. The report shows that over half are gambling in foreign markets. As of December 16, 2020, Norway doesn’t have any licensing models. 

The Norwegian government has suggested tighter restrictions to keep individuals protected while gambling. Their priority is to ensure it doesn’t become an unhealthy habit for the population.

Even though Norway has extensive laws on gambling, there’s been no obvious action against those participating in ‘illegal’ gambling. In an unexpected move to gain more control,  Lawmakers have hinted at opening the gaming industry domestically and attempting to legalize gambling.

Gambling in Norway for 2021

Online gambling news 2021 will likely report another increase in how many individuals gamble online. But will it include the Norwegian government legalizing online gambling? The evidence suggests that it’s not going to happen, at least not in 2021. Since Norway views gambling as a problem, the government is looking to merge the three existing laws.

The new law will give stricter state controls, and if this happens, it’s believed it will generate more challenges for Norwegians.

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