Icelandic Gambling Laws
While there are no casinos in Iceland, residents do have access to the lottery and online gambling. Generally, gambling is considered illegal in Iceland, while lotteries are not.
In 1926, all lotteries were banned in Iceland. This was done to prevent funds from being put into foreign lotteries and to stop privately-run, small-scale operations.
Gambling was partially legalized in 1933, when the parliament permitted the University of Iceland to run a lottery with monetary based prizes. Eighty-percent of the profits were earmarked for running the university.
Since that time, other lotteries have been given permission to operate in Iceland. A sports betting lottery was introduced in 1972, and lotto debuted in 1986. Slot machines were given approval in 1994, although they had already been in operation for more than a decade. Each lottery operator is permitted to run one particular kind of lottery.
According to Icelandic citizens, the top three forms of gambling in the country are lotto, slot machines and scratch tickets.
Iceland Online Gambling
Online gambling is a thriving business in Iceland, as an estimated 81 percent of the population has a computer, and 77 percent are connected to the Internet. On average, people spend 5.44 hours a week online, while people aged 21-24 spend an average of 6.43 hours.
Eight out of ten Icelandic citizens also own a mobile phone, so the potential for online casino gaming is increased even further.
Two main online gambling sites are run out of Iceland.
The main Icelandic gambling websites are:
- Icelandic Getspa (www.lotto.is)
- The Icelandic Sport Web (www.1×2.is).
- The main products offered by Icelandic Getspa are: Lotto, Joker, Lotto Askrift and Viking Lotto.
It should be noted that neither of the above sites support the English language.
Lottery in Iceland
While the term “lottery” is not specifically defined under Icelandic law, it is assumed to mean an activity where a participant pays a fee to enter a drawing entirely dependant on chance. According to Articles 183 and 184 of their criminal code, it is illegal to engage in gambling on a professional basis, to encourage others to take part in the activities, or to derive an income from having these activities take place on your premises.
Icelandic lotteries are designed to help a number of charitable causes. These include sports clubs, political parties and various philanthropic causes.
The following lotteries exist in Iceland:
1. The University of Iceland Lottery (www.hhi.is)
2. The Association of Icelandic Heart and Chest Patients (www.sibs.is/sibs_lottery.htm)
3. The Lotteries of the Retired Seaman’s Home (www.das.is)
4. Number Lotteries – Since 1986, these games have offered cash prizes, with all profits going to help the handicapped and various sports organizations. Available games include Lotto, Joker and Viking Lotto.
5. Video Lottery Machines (www.hhi.is)
6. Sports Pools – Legislation in 1972 granted Icelandic Football Pools an exclusive license to run sports pools. Cash prizes are offered, with proceeds supporting various sports enterprises. Football (soccer) pools are the most popular.
Iceland is a Northern European country located between Europe and Greenland. With a population of around 313,000, it is the least populace of the Nordic countries.
An island nation, it is the 18th largest island in the world. The capital of Reykjavik is the northernmost capital in the world, and other important towns include Reykjanebaer and Akureyri.
Iceland is a member of the United Nations, NATO, EFTA, EEA and OECD. They are not, however, a member of the European Union.
The first settlement of Iceland began in 874 when a Norwegian chieftain made his home there. During the following centuries, people of both Nordic and Gaelic origin settled in Iceland. From 1262 until 1944, the nation was part of either the Norwegian or Danish monarchies.
Once heavily reliant on fishing, Iceland’s economy has become more diverse over time. The tourism sector continues to grow, and the manufacturing and services industries are strong performers. Agriculture consists mainly of mutton, dairy products, turnips, potatoes and green vegetables. The Iceland Stock Exchange was established in 1985.
Over 30,000 Icelandic residents are originally from somewhere outside of the country. Of this group, Poles comprise the largest minority population.
The official language is Icelandic, while English is also used by a majority of the population. Danish is another language which can be widely found throughout the country. Due to the large number of immigrants, Polish, German, Swedish and Norwegian are also present.
The official state church is The National Church of Iceland, which is affiliated with the Lutheran faith. A national registry keeps track of the religious affiliation of all residents. According to their numbers, 82.1% of Icelanders belong to The National Church of Iceland, 4.7% belong to the Free Lutheran Churches, 2.6% do not belong to a religious group, 2.4% follow the Roman Catholic Church and 5.5% are members of unregistered religious organizations or have no specific affiliations.
The Icelandic Krona is the official currency of the nation. Iceland, although not a member of the European Union, has expressed interest in adopting the Euro as the national currency.
Sports are very popular in Iceland, and the main traditional sport is known as Glima. It is a form of wrestling which originated with the Vikings. Other popular sports include: football (soccer), track and field, basketball, handball, golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, mountain climbing, horseback riding and rifle shooting. Chess is also a favorite pastime among citizens of Iceland.