Are Cryptocurrencies The Future for Online Betting Payments in Norway?

November 3, 2021

As authorities in Norway continue to crack down on transfers between Norwegian banks and unlicensed betting operators, cryptocurrencies could be the answer for players looking for seamless deposit options.

For more than a decade, cryptocurrencies have played a role in international finance. Today’s betting market is no exception. The benefits of not having to deal with banks, credit cards, and the fees often associated with the payment methods that they offer, have enabled the rise of cryptocurrency payments in online betting.

In Norway, where current regulations limit bank transfers between Norwegian bank accounts and betting operators located outside of the country, cryptocurrencies could quickly become the leading payment method for fans of online betting.

Background: A long-established, albeit ineffective monopoly

For many years, Norway has strictly regulated and controlled its betting market. Licenced sports betting, casino, lottery, and horse racing are limited to just two state-run monopoly operators.

The rise of online betting has, however, challenged this long-standing monopoly. Today, international betting operators can offer their games to Norwegian players without needing to be physically present in the country.

Despite efforts from lawmakers to curtail this development, a growing number of Norwegian players have signed up with foreign bookmakers and online casinos, often enticed by bonuses and campaigns that are not available from Norway’s licenced operators.

New efforts to enforce regulation

Because blocking Norwegian customers’ access to betting services that are legal in neighbouring countries has proved difficult, if not impossible, authorities have largely focused on legislation that hinders payments made between Norwegian banks and offshore betting companies.

In 2020, a change in legislation made it possible for Norwegian authorities to mandate that banks reject payments made to and from ‘middleman’ companies. Such third parties, acting as intermediaries between Norwegian banks and foreign betting operators, had long been an effective way to bypass the restrictions on payments.

A year later, there are indications that this increased pressure on banks has made it harder for betting companies to operate in Norway and that the lack of viable payment options may have led to a loss of betting activity from Norwegian customers.

Increased use of cryptocurrencies

However, as regulations tighten, no one expects the affected betting companies to simply sit back and not respond. A growing number of Norwegian betting sites now offer their players the option of depositing with cryptocurrencies.

The most common of these have traditionally been Bitcoin and Litecoin, but as the options constantly expand, they now include cryptocurrencies such as Etherum, Monero, Ripple, and Cardano.

22Bet and Rabona are two examples of betting sites with several cryptocurrencies available for deposits and withdrawals. If players migrate to cryptocurrency as their preferred payment method, these operators, and others that embrace cryptocurrency payments, could gain an advantage in the Norwegian betting market. This may be especially true if the crackdown on traditional payment methods proves successful in the long run.

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Author: iGaming Team

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