In the not too distant past, gambling only used to be available at certain sites – in brick and mortar casinos. Times have changed, however. Now, large sections of the Nordic population gamble digitally at online casinos. In fact, Scandinavia is becoming one of the largest online gambling markets.
However, anyone in the world with an internet connection can take advantage of online casinos. Why then is online gaming booming so strongly within the Nordic countries? To understand this, we need to know what makes gambling different in Scandinavia.
Just like elsewhere, people in the Nordic countries have discovered a huge selection of online casinos and games. There are now so many gambling outlets operating on the internet that aggregator websites like eestionlinekasiinod.com have emerged, enabling consumers to browse games and deals that are available across many different companies.
The Nordic Model for Gambling
Until recently, many Nordic countries had strict state monopolies over betting and gambling. Norway still maintains strict regulations on lotteries, slot machines, and sports betting but some private operators have sprung up. In other Nordic countries, state control is gradually being relaxed. The Danish state ended their monopoly in 2018. This opened the sector up for the first time to diverse companies. All gambling and betting operators, however, must obtain a government licence.
The tight regulations on traditional gambling venues are an obvious reason why online casinos have become so appealing to those living in Nordic countries. There is much more latitude than before for Scandinavian companies to open real casino establishments. However, they still have a tough time working around strict government regulations and licensing rules. In Denmark for example, any company can apply for a casino licence, but they will need to already be quite well-established businesses either within Denmark or the EU. Just applying for a license comes with a hefty price too, at around €40.000.
All these laws mean that there are simply fewer offline venues for Scandinavians to indulge in their love of gambling. People from the US or UK may be surprised to find out that across the whole of Sweden, there are only four casinos. In Norway there are seven. Unsurprisingly, Nordic people are turning to foreign gambling companies on the internet for more choice, better quality and greater convenience.
In Sweden, it has been completely legal to gamble online at unlicenced casinos since 2002. Even though there is talk of tightening up online gaming laws, demand for this popular pastime remains strong. For this reason, Sweden has become a top target market for foreign gambling outlets. In Norway, people are free to gamble online as long as the companies in question are based in another country. However, even foreign operators must stick to strict rules on social responsibility after laws on international gambling companies were beefed up in a 2021 legislative update.
Iceland and the Faroe Islands are really the only Scandinavian countries where gambling hasn’t gained much traction. The population sizes here are small and it just doesn’t seem to be a big part of the culture.
The digitalisation factor
This history of state gambling restrictions has not dampened the Nordic love for casinos. In Finland for example, 8 out of 10 people gambled in the year 2021. This situation is mirrored in Sweden, where people are taking to online gambling in droves. All forms of gambling in Sweden went up 7 percent in 2021, according to a survey by the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate.
Other Nordic countries follow this pattern. During the last few years, Norwegian online gambling increased by 62 percent. In 2021, 59 percent of Danish gambling spending happened on the internet with a 28.65 percent growth in the online casino sector.
No doubt this boost has a lot to do with digitalisation. The fact that pretty much everyone nowadays owns a smartphone and is always connected to the internet, is probably one of the reasons why online gambling and playing video games in general are on the rise.
Celebrities and disposable incomes play a part
There’s also the celebrity factor in driving up online casino sales. Norway is home to some internationally renowned poker players like Ola Amundsgaard, Thor Hansen, Jonny Lodden; Martin Jacobsen is the best poker player in Sweden. On top of this, the Nordic economies are generally very healthy. People simply have the disposable income to spend on hobbies like gambling.
Clearly, online gambling is incredibly popular in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. Although governments here have always pushed socially responsible regulation of the sector, it seems that there is a huge appetite for this pastime in the general population. Gambling laws here might be much stricter than in other parts of the world but Scandinavian gamblers have one advantage – most banks allow transactions on gaming sites and users can even choose cryptocurrencies. Combined with the fact that international gambling companies are pretty much freely accessible online, expect the Scandinavian market for online casinos to continue growing over the next few years.
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