Casino Games and Gambling in Scandinavia – 2024 Guide

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Scandinavia is one of the regions in Europe where casino games and gambling is very popular. The Scandinavian countries have a long history of playing lotteries, betting and other related games, where almost all people involved are well aware that they will not win these games.

Scandinavians are happy to pay money for entertainment and fun, and like to play games with a small chance of winning more. Although there is no official information about the amount of money Scandinavians spend on casino games and gambling each year, it is estimated that they bet between 1-5% of their disposable income on lottery tickets, sweepstakes or other forms of betting.

Approach to casino games in Scandinavia

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People of Scandinavia generally have a positive attitude towards gambling. Even though the image of casino games is not as positive as it could be, most people do not consider gambling as a problem, the general public has an overall positive view of professional gambling and related activities. Gaming laws are quite similar in all Scandinavian countries, which makes casino games and their taxation very predictable and reliable for casinos and online casinos since their business is stable in these countries.

Let us consider differences and similarities between each Scandinavian country in approach to gambling.

Casino games and gambling in Sweden

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Allowance for casino games and gambling in Sweden was established with the beginning of 1970s. Licenses, which control gaming activities are issued by the Swedish government and Casino Control Authority (APK). APK is also responsible for supervising all gambling operations in the country. Only three main cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo have legal casino establishments. Outside those casinos you can find casino-style games only in the state lotteries, which are dominating gambling market in Sweden.

Skolinspektionen (the Swedish Gambling Authority), established in 1998, is responsible for overseeing all other forms of gambling apart from casino games and lotteries. “Toto” lottery is clearly dominant in the Swedish gaming market.

Swedish people are also interested in poker games, especially in recent years. The state-owned gambling company Svenska Spel has recently started offering poker games on the web. As of now (2007), PokerStars and Full Tilt are two most popular sites for Swedish players to play online poker.

International casino operators like MGM Mirage and Hard Rock Casino operate a number of casinos in Swedish cities. Moreover, there are numerous online casinos providing their services in Sweden.

Casino games and gambling in Norway

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People in Norway are allowed to play casino games at Oslo’s Tjuvholmen and in Stavanger. The government is planning to approve more casinos in the future, but until then people have to travel far from home if they want to play casino games on site.

However, online casinos come to the rescue and enable Norwegians to play online casino games from the comfort of their homes.

The country’s loyalties are mostly divided between foreign casino operators that offer Norwegian players a better selection and higher quality, as well as more generous bonuses. Countries like Australia and the United Kingdom are big favorites for Norwegian online gamblers. Norway is also home to numerous sports betting bookmakers offices and betting shops. There are several licensed online betting sites, but their number is limited by the country’s strict laws regarding gambling and betting services.

Casino games and gambling in Finland

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Finland has a liberalized gaming market where there are almost all forms of gambling and betting allowed and regulated by the government. There are however, a few restrictions on some casino games and most is reserved for online gaming sites and regulated online casinos only. The most popular gambling forms in Finland include sports betting, lottery draws and scratch cards.

Most of Finnish people who visit a legal online casino prefer to play slots including video slots or classic slot machines like Thunder or Starburst.

Casino games and gambling in Denmark

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Denmark is very similar to Finland, in the sense that there is a wide variety of legal gambling services offered by both online and land based casinos. The majority of customers prefer to play classic casino games such as roulette, poker or blackjack at land based casinos.

In Denmark you will also find slots including video slots like Mega Fortune and Starburst at regulated legal online casinos.

The Dutch are very fond of casino games and gambling. The Netherlands have a great land based gaming tradition but it was the liberalisation of online casinos in the Netherlands that has made them so popular. Today you will find hundreds of Online casinos offering various casino games as well as other forms of gambling to Dutch players.

Casino games and gambling in Iceland

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For obvious reasons Iceland is not really a significant gambling market. Most people in Iceland are rather puritanical and there is no public support for legalised gaming. Casino games and gambling are restricted to foreign owned cruise ships visiting Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik.

Casino games and gambling on Faroe Islands

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Faroe Islands are small islands and approx. 50,000 people live here. Faroese people are rather religious and the Lutheran Church has a strong influence on society. Most of the casinos in the world are taking their chances when entering a new market but there are very few casinos willing to take that chance with Faroe Islands at this point in time. There is only the possibility to play on cruise ships with a casino establishment on deck.