Online Poker In Norway Increases In Popularity

6 months ago
Online Poker In Norway Increases In Popularity
20 May

Online poker is currently booming in Norway. Like the rest of the world, lockdown conditions have forced Norwegians to occupy themselves in new ways while the COVID-19 pandemic plays out.

The global online poker market has grown back to levels not seen for more than five years, and the Norwegian sector is no exception. But why?


Scandinavians have a famous reputation as fearsome poker players, with off the chart aggression and a willingness to test your character. The region has produced some of the finest players that the modern era has seen.

Norway has many stars who have driven the game’s popularity in the country. The likes of Annette Obrestad came in at the beginning of the poker boom back in 2003 encouraging many compatriots to try and follow.

In 2014 Felix Stephensen finished runner up in the World Series of Poker Main Event, taking home more than $5 million for his efforts. 

Andreas Hoivold, Johnny Lodden, and Thor Hansen have also won millions of dollars during their career.

So, with producing these kinds of stars it’s not surprising that Norway has a solid base for poker.

Legal Gray Area

The reason why online poker traffic from Norway hasn’t been great over the last few years is the legal gray area. 

The Norwegian government doesn’t allow brick and mortar casinos in the country and they also outlawed local banks from processing transactions to online gambling websites, much in the same way as in the USA.

However, this doesn’t mean that if you play on an online poker site you are breaking the law. It’s not so simple.

In fact, in 2014 there was a softening of the law to allow organisations which have a socially beneficial or humanitarian purpose to apply for a permit to organise live poker tournaments.

The Norwegian Leukaemia Association won the first tender and rolled out the Norwegian championship that took place in October and November 2015.

Lots of Options

One big reason that has allowed online poker to flourish over the last couple of months is the ability to upload funds using an ewallet such as Paypal.

While payment processors and credit card issuers are legally bound not to transfer funds to gambling websites, international companies do not have to follow the same guidelines.

In fact, there are many sportsbook operators that will complete transfers both ways in Norwegian krone. Google is the obvious place to look for more information.

Cryptocurrency is also a go to method for moving funds. As long as you’re not breaking any law and the website conducts transfers both ways then it’s a perfect solution.

Another reason for the increase in popularity of online poker in Norway is the lack of sports betting available at this time.

There have been countless articles written throughout gambling journalism about what there is  left to bet on.

The options were more than a little thin on the ground. Belarussian Premier League, Russian volleyball, and Ukrainian table tennis was pretty much it.

If you fancied a flutter it was traditional casino gaming or online poker.

The final reason why online poker in Norway is booming is the responsible attitude towards betting throughout the country.

During the COVID-19 lockdown regulators have stepped up their efforts to prevent casual gamblers from picking up unhealthy betting patterns. In the case of Norway it seems as if they needn’t have bothered.

There has been no report of problem gambling on the rise over the last two months in Norway. In fact, in the UK the opposite was true. People are still enjoying a bet but being more responsible with an uncertain economic outlook.

So, with so many positives for online poker in Norway it’s possible we might see a third wave of aggro Scandinavians at our tables before long.

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Mark from Stamford in the UK is a professional cash game player, and part time journalist. A massive chess fan and perpetual traveller.He also produces strategy content for our sister wesbite more


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