Unregulated online gambling operations based in Norway raked in a net sale of somewhere between NOK2 and NOK2.2 billion for 2017. This is far behind Norway’s regulated gambling market, which netted NOK43.7 billion for 2017. The figures, calculated by gambling regulator Lotteri-og Stiftelsestilsnynet, show that regulated gambling is still a force to be reckoned with.

However, the unregulated market may be much bigger than most realize. Unlicensed international casinos are spending more money on advertising, NOK866 million just last year, and those advertisements are aimed directly at Norwegian gamblers. The true revenue of the unregulated market may actually be impossible to calculate. Regulated gambling is still winning the day, but fallout over the countries monopoly problems may cause gamblers to be lured away despite the risk.

The monopoly concerns two companies, Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping. Both companies are state-run and represent the only licensed gambling companies in Norway. They are the only gambling companies allowed to advertise on television handling the lottery, online gaming such as poker, and scratch cards. Norsk’s Flax scratch cards were highest gambling product to gross in 2017. As an estimated 2.2 out of the 5.23 million people populating Norway gamble the profits for online gambling are too good to pass up. This is why international companies are trying very hard to make their presence known. One way they have been successful in their own advertising schemes has been through a television loophole.

Whereas Riskoto and Norsk can advertise on Norway television networks, outside companies have been able to place ads on channels broadcast from outside the country. Norway’s lawmakers are working to shut that loophole down, however, in their efforts to stem unregulated gambling. Although many in the country do not approve of the monopoly, Norwegian lawmakers are staying the course. Regulated gambling is still doing well, and it is a lot safer for gamblers to take part in. Their efforts in regards to restricting unregulated gambling come from a desire to protect gamblers from fraud.

Norway’s regulated gambling market has experienced much growth. Since 2012 it has expanded by 65.7%. More and more Norwegians are taking part in gambling ventures. At this point most are in for leisure, a scratch card here, a lottery ticket there, or a fun little jaunt on an online site. Only 122,000 of the 2.2 million gamblers in Norway are problem gamblers. Latest reports show those at risk tend to focus more on online gaming like poker or other casino fare. The lottery and scratch cards remain the fodder of the leisure better, taking a fun little poke at good luck every now and then.

The popularity and growth of the gambling market it is very enticing to outside companies. So Norwegian lawmakers will need to be vigilant, as even shutting down the current loophole will not stop them. NOK2 billion is far behind regulated gambling, but it is still a significant number, and it is showing growth as well. Since the actual number cannot be derived the problem may be much bigger.