Apart from being cold, Norway is a country known for its economic prowess and progressive attitude to most things.
Most aspects of gaming, however, have long been illegal in the northern European country, with lotteries and sports the only types of gaming allowed there.
That is set to change under an initiative by Norway’s government to legalise, expand and regulate the country’s gaming market.
Poker would be one of the games that would benefit under the proposed reforms, although only to a degree. While poker tournaments would be legal in Norway under the newly elected government’s planned reforms, those tournaments would only be allowed at low stakes.
The main reason for the decision to legalise other forms of gaming can be seen in the main government report on the issue of gaming. The report states that broadening the Norwegian gaming industry could be an economic benefit to the country and that it should be pursued as a result.
“The Government will continue to pursue policies that take account of gamblers and ensure that revenues from gambling in Norway shall accrue profit purposes,” the report said. “[The] Government will examine the issue of licensing for foreign game companies to see if it is possible to combine social policy and increased total revenues for volunteering in the European Economic Agreement limits.”
Although poker is likely to only be offered legally at small stakes as part of the gaming regulations, it may help grow the game in a country which has spawned some of the world’s top professional poker players.
Among those players is veteran pro and Poker Hall of Fame nominee Thor Hansen, who has two WSOP gold bracelets and 46 WSOP in-the-money finishes to his name. Johnny Lodden is another player from Norway who has seen major poker success, especially online, where he was once among the biggest cash winners in the world.
Annette Obrestad is another world famous poker player to come out of the Scandinavian country. The 25-year-old already has eight WSOP cashes and three EPT in-the-money finishes, and is also the youngest player to have ever won a WSOP gold bracelet, having done so a day before her nineteenth birthday.
Those three players are among the many examples of top Norwegian poker players and more Norwegians could follow suit as a result of the government’s plans to legalise and regulate the game.
The plans could also benefit the country in the form of extra government revenue through taxes, which would especially be the case if foreign gaming companies were to set up shop in Norway.