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Betting in Iceland

Published on: 01/02/2016

Iceland is located in the Northern Atlantic with Reykjavik, the capital city, being the northernmost city on the planet. Out of all of the Nordic countries, Iceland has the smallest population with approximately 310,000 citizens. However, as an island, it is the 18th largest worldwide. Akureyri and Reykjanebaer are two of the biggest towns in Iceland.

On the whole, gambling is not permitted in Iceland. This has been the case since the Criminal Code was brought into effect in 1998. As a result, there are no casinos, betting shops or even bingo halls. However, the law in Iceland does allow certain lottery operations. In 1933, the University of Iceland held the first lottery under an agreement that saw 80% of profits ploughed back into the University. A sports betting lottery was introduced in 1972 followed by a regional lotto in 1986.

Slot machines have been played on the island since the 1980s but all gaming operators still face strict regulations to this day. The correct licenses must be issued by the Ministry of Justice and profits must be used to fund non-profit charities and organisations. Even raffles are not permitted without permission from the police.

The sports betting and regional lotteries were merged in 2001 to form the Íslensk Getspágetraunir. Other lotteries such as Joker, Lotto Askrift and Vikinga Lotto are operated by the Islendic Getspa. However, there are still no sportbooks offering fixed-odds betting operating in the country. Those in favour of opening sportsbooks and casinos believe that the country’s economy would be boosted by such activities. With strong demand for existing gaming services, it is thought that citizens would embrace the opportunity to gamble more freely.

Online gambling via foreign bookmakers is currently unrestricted and around 500 global bookmakers already accept business from Icelandic customers including:

Only two sites currently offer services in the Icelandic language: including: