An overview of the Scandinavian gambling landscape

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Gambling has existed for over 5000 years with its roots in China, Egypt and Persia (modern day Iran). Nowadays, gambling is relatively common in many countries and is legally and socially endorsed.  However, countries such as the USA, South Africa, Scandinavia as well as many other European countries exhibit higher levels of gambling in comparison to other countries. (See The Lancet)

There was a time when the Scandinavian countries used to harbor some of the largest gambling dens in the world. Gaming laws have changed and have impacted gambling across Scandinavia. Today, the brick-and-mortar gaming dens are regulated by the government. This move at a state level has spurred companies to set up shot abroad.

Since the advent of online gambling, gone are the days of those 80s arcade games and the Scandinavian countries have experienced a huge surge in their virtual gaming market. However, it also gradually led to an increase in cases of gambling issues, a social problem which we see in several countries across the globe. 

State Owned Gambling

In Sweden, it gave rise to the Svenska Spel, a state-owned company. It focuses on creating a highly responsible gambling environment for the benefit of the citizens. It has secured its branches in close to 2000 restaurants and pubs. Svenska Spel actively works to take a more throughout control of the industry, providing useful information and necessary tools to the customers. Companies overseas means locals based in their homeland have the option of gaming online with entities outside their the country in which they reside. Online gambling is available in Sweden but regulated. All online operators must have a valid license which is issued by The Swedish Gambling Authority or Spelinspektionen. There a number of leading review casino bonus sites for players including,, and others. 

Gaming problems within a social context

These days, gambling addiction is considered to be a public health problem across many countries. The problem varies from country to country and social bias and acceptance invariably plays a role.As an example, recent survey conducted by Swelog shows that around 2% (close to 200,000 people) of the population gamble. In the USA, the figure of American adults who gamble is 125 million – amongst the highest in the world.

The Situation in Norway

Coming to other Scandinavian countries, gambling in a major part of Norway is outright illegal. The Norwegian government is zealously working toward preventing offshore gaming websites from seeping in. Only two state-owned organizations are allowed to provide gambling services in the country - Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. Slots and lotteries are among the games offered by the companies. 

How IGaming in Denmark?

The gambling regulations in Denmark are relatively lax. Till 2012, only the Danske Spil was privileged enough to acquire a license from the Danish government. But due to increasing pressure from the general populace, Ladbrokes and Bet365 gradually jumped into the fray, ready to give Danske Spil a run for its money. But the government tipped the odds in the latter’s favor by reserving the rights of animal race betting and lotteries for Danske.

Online Gambling in Iceland and Finland

In Iceland, any form of gambling is illegal. However, citizens are not prosecuted for gambling over offshore online platforms. Also, gambling events are allowed if they are organized for charity purposes. But you can only install pure luck-based games like lottery, bingo, slots etc. Poker, Blackjack, and other table casino games are banned throughout the island.

The gambling atmosphere in Finland was similar to that of Norway where gambling is also state controlled. Only three gaming organizations own exclusive gambling rights under the Finnish Lotteries Act. The reason for enforcing controlled gambling is the same - improving the social health of the country. 

This article was written in cooperation with