Online Gaming Markets: A Comparison Between the United Kingdom and Norway

Gambling — responsible gambling — could be a good thing for many reasons, especially from an economic and psychological perspective. 

On the economic front, gambling markets are juggernauts. The United States online gaming sector is projected to be valued at approximately $102 billion by 2025. The total gross gambling yield in the UK was at 14.4 billion pounds a year ago. 

Like all other activities that involve winners and losers, there are several divergent views on gambling. Some countries take a more liberal position and create favourable online gambling/sports gaming market conditions. These “liberal” countries are undoubtedly the biggest fields of play in the online gambling world.

On the other hand, there are “conservative” countries that either place great restrictions on gambling or ban them outrightly. One of these conservative countries is Norway.

The Norwegian gambling market is extremely regulated, as explained in detail in JackpotCity’s online casino blog post. The UK’s gambling market, on the other hand, is much more open to the participation of multiple players.

In this post, we’ll be revealing the basic information on the two separate online gaming markets and the overall impact of the gambling market regulation in both countries.

The UK Online Gambling Market

Online gambling in the United Kingdom is hugely popular as a fun and business activity. As a testament to the popularity of online gambling, research in 2018 revealed that most bettors in the UK used more than two online betting sites to place bets. More reports from 2018 show that online gambling makes up almost 40% of the entire UK gambling revenue. 

Increased activity levels in online gambling in the UK comes as no surprise in the 21st century. Everyone’s looking for convenience. Reportedly, there are around twenty-four million people in the UK who gamble at least once every month. Online casino games including slot games, roulette and blackjack lead the popularity contest for online betting in the UK.

The speed of growth of the UK’s online gaming industry is strongly linked with the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act. The Gambling Act effectively made the point of entry for online gambling businesses easier to walk through. Casinos and other forms of gambling became fully licensed to operate and advertise within the UK. This legislation — not fully active until 2007 — paved the way for bookmakers to transition into the online gaming world.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was created by the Act and has now granted over 3,600 licenses to over 2,500 online gambling companies. For the online gamer, there is very little barrier to signing up on any online betting platform. It’s a simple matter of visiting the website, creating an account and getting the bets rolling right off the bat.

Online gambling in the UK continues to enjoy increased success, mainly because of it’s liberal approach to gambling. Currently, processes are being initiated by some legislators to add some more regulations to protect the consumers.

The Norwegian online gambling market

People love to gamble everywhere — including Norwegians. But, not every place works with the same type of regulations. 

Norway’s online gambling market is notorious for its highly restrictive regulations. A state-controlled monopoly is the best way to define the online gambling market in Norway. The majority of gambling activities in Norway is practically controlled by two state-owned entities — Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto. 

The Gaming Scheme Act, Totalisator Act and The Lottery Act are the regulations governing gambling in Norway. Fortunately, there are no provisions in the act that disallow citizens from patronising unlicensed gambling companies. That makes it a lot simpler for Norwegians to place bets on international gambling websites. Around two-thirds of online gambling activity in Norway happens on international websites.

The argument for such restrictive regulations, as proposed by Norway’s lawmakers, is based on player protection. The government believes that its gambling policies serve to protect Norwegians from online gambling companies who will not take necessary measures to prevent unhealthy problem gambling. 

Many have disagreed with Norway’s position on online gambling and gambling in general. The fact that two-thirds of online gaming activities in Norway do not even take place on Norway’s state-controlled betting companies is proof that Norwegians may not be as protected as their government wants them to be. Meanwhile, the state is losing out on massive amounts of taxable revenue generated through online gambling.

Even more interesting is the fact that more Norwegians struggle with problem gambling when compared to people from the UK who have a much wider pool of online gambling choices.

Norway’s government does not seem interested in counter-arguments to its monopolistic and highly conservative approach to online gambling. If anything, the government has determined to impose stricter regulations on unlicensed betting.

The European Gaming and Betting Association has, many times, openly disagreed with Norway’s gambling regulations. The EGBA prefers that Norway keeps up with the global standard gambling practice. 

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