Gambling in some form has been popular in Iceland since the 20th century when natives to the island nation participated in foreign lotteries. This flow of capital leaving the country caused concern among authorities and was the catalyst for the government introducing its first gambling statute. The resulting Lottery Act in 1926 became a key component of this new legal framework, and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, as casinos and gambling were flourishing across Europe.

In a nutshell, the Act made participating in foreign lotteries illegal, and in order to have a legal gambling operation in the country, you had to have special permission. However, an amendment to the Lottery Act seven years after it was enacted saw the University of Iceland and Íslandsspil exempt and currently enjoy a monopoly. And while the gambling landscape in Iceland has changed quite a bit since that first statue was introduced, only a handful of licenses for gambling operation have been issued sine 1933.

Suffice it to say, Iceland is not exactly what you’d call a gambling-friendly country, with gambling legislation there among the strictest in Europe. There are workarounds, however.

Navigating Icelandic Gambling Regulations

For instance, land-based casinos in Iceland are illegal but slot halls are permitted thanks to the legalization of slots in 1994. That being said, the machines are not abundant, and are a monopoly of Íslandsspil and the University of Iceland. You will be able to find a limited amount (10-20) of slot machines in some pubs in Reykjavik, the country’s capital and largest city, and in bigger towns, but they are few and far between.

Similar to brick-and-mortars, online casino in Iceland is illegal, however, residents of the country are free to play online on foreign gambling websites that accept players from Iceland. iGaming is very popular in Iceland but because the country does not issue online casino licenses, players should use care in choosing an international online casino. You’ll want to choose only those that are licensed, preferably held by those with the highest standards, such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), Curacao, Spelinspektionen and Danske Spil.

Do Your Research

Other considerations include security, the games selection, the best welcome bonus and other promotions, customer service and payment options. You’ll also want to read valuable casino reviews on sites such as Iceland Casino, which is a top Icelandic casino guide. In addition to online casino reviews, the site provides players with a list of casinos that focus specifically on Icelanders who are looking to play at Icelandic casinos online.

You will find that there are plenty of exciting offshore online casinos that offer security and excellent service for Icelandic players.