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Gambling industry of Iceland: a guide for beginners

Iceland is a pretty small island nation located in the North Atlantic. Its population barely reaches 350 thousands of people, which makes it one of the least populated country in Europe. However, residents of Iceland have a very high quality of life. This Nordic nation has a strong and stable economy and rather low taxes. In many ways, such success was achieved through the tourism industry — it holds about 5% of the total Icelandic GDP.

Iceland is a very popular destination for travelers from all over the world. A couple of years ago the government of the country had to put a cap on the number of visitors — there were too many tourists! Nowadays, over a million people visit Iceland every year. Most of them come here too see amazing nature and experience the unique culture. Unfortunately, casino enthusiasts will not find any big casino entertainments here.

The country does not have a single casino, sports bookmaker, or even a poker room. However, there are some lotteries, slots arcades, and bingo halls, but there are not many of them. The reason for that is the local law according to which all the profit obtained by the gambling establishments have to go to charity needs.

Considering the above, Iceland is definitely not a country meant for gambling enthusiasts. If you cannot live a day without casino games, your only choice here would be gambling websites. Technically, they are considered illegal but there are close to zero chances to get caught.

If you would like to know more about the gambling industry of this amazing northern land, you should read our article. You will find the most important legislation nuances, best gambling sites, and the list of the most popular online casinos available in Iceland.

Gambling-related legislation and regulations in Iceland

As we have already mentioned, this country has one of the smallest gambling markets in Europe. This is easily explained by the local laws. Although you can play lotteries and slot machines here, there is no way to find an official casino because they are considered illegal.

The situation was even worse at the beginning of the twentieth century. All the lotteries on the territory of Iceland were banned. The country’s government did that in order to prevent funds from leaking into foreign lotteries and to eliminate privately-run, small-scale operations.

In 1933, gambling in Iceland was partially legalized when its authorities permitted the University of Iceland to run a lottery with cash prizes. Nearly 80% of the received profits were used for running the university.

Many other lotteries have been allowed to operate in the country. In 1972, the first sports betting lottery appeared. The first Icelandic lotto opened only twelve years later — in 1986. After another eight years, the parliament of the country has officially permitted slot machines despite the fact that there already were dozens of places where you could play them illegally.

Nothing much has changed since then. Casinos and poker rooms are still not welcomed in Iceland. According to the citizens of the country, the most popular types of gambling there are slot machines, scratch tickets, and lottos. You can also play slots, lotteries, bingo, and bet on sport. That is about it.

However, the strict Icelandic legislation has a positive side. You do not have to pay a single dollar of taxes from your winnings received through gambling. Additionally, gambling operators donate all their profits to charity. This makes Iceland one of the few places where always gambler plays for a good cause!

Online casinos in Iceland: play whatever you want at your own risk

Given the low number of legal gambling options in Iceland, most of the experienced gamblers prefer to play online. The government does not ban foreign websites and seems to not care about those people who visit them, so there are not that many reasons to worry. Nearly 80 percent of the country’s residents have an internet access, which makes the online gambling very easy. However, it is considered illegal — remember that and play at your own risk.

As you may have guessed there are no casino websites located in Iceland, but you can use any gambling website on the Internet. The only thing you need to do is choose an online casino that accepts Icelandic visitors. Here are popular options:

  • Roy Richie;
  • NordicBet Casino;
  • William Hill;
  • Betsson;
  • Bet365;
  • Betsafe Casino.

There are many more casinos besides the above-listed options. The local legislation towards online gambling is very soft so most of the international websites accept Icelandic players.

What currencies and banking options can be used in Iceland?

The only currency accepted in official gambling establishments is the Icelandic krona. You can easily exchange it in any exchange office. On average, you can get about 105 ISK for one American dollar or 125 ISK for one euro.

Online gambling in Iceland is much easier in this regard since most of the gambling websites accept worldwide popular electronic wallets and credit cards. As soon as you find a website you like, you should not worry about currencies and payment methods.

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