Despite being a huge draw for tourists around the world who wish to see the Northern Lights, take in the dramatic scenery across the beautiful island and partake in the many cultural activities, Iceland has yet to fully legalize gambling. However, because no Icelandic players are prosecuted for playing slots, table games, and progressive jackpots online, there are quite a few sites available, many with top welcome bonuses for Icelanders. In this GoodLuckMate guide to Icelandic online casinos, we’ll give you some top tips on how you can play casino games.
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Iceland’s government has banned all land-based casinos within Iceland, so Icelandic players who want to indulge in a few slots, table games, or sports bets, for example, turn to online companies based abroad. The vast majority of these players naturally choose sites that are located in neighboring northern European countries, or else those based in iGaming hubs such as Malta and Curacao. Therefore, with no blacklisting occurring in the country, there are many options out there.
The easiest way to discover which online casinos accept players from Iceland is to read through GoodLuckMate’s reviews. Here, our experts and enthusiasts not only note which countries are restricted from signing up, but also give you the full details on any available welcome bonuses, whether or not free spins are included into the bargain, and the most important terms and conditions of which you should be aware before claiming any promotion or sign-up offer.
Not only that, but you’ll also get the lowdown on the other important considerations, such as if your chosen payment method is available for both deposits and withdrawals, how long transactions will take and what currencies you can use. Furthermore, we get into the nitty-gritty of what type of games are available, how you can contact customer support, and our overall impressions of the brand. So, before registering a new account, be sure that you have:
Once you’ve done all of that and you’re picked your ideal brand, you can click through the GoodLuckMate welcome bonus banners on the reviews to sign up for the best deals.
As running gambling sites, land-based casinos, or sports betting shops is illegal within Iceland, there is no regulatory body that grants licenses to companies offering services to Icelandic players. In fact, the only forms of gambling that exist within the country are those that offer low-wager games with tiny jackpots – with profits going to charitable causes. These include a limited number of slots parlors that offer old-school fruit machines and small-prize lotteries.
Back in 2015, Progressive Party member and former footballer Willum Þór Þórsson tried for a third time to get parliament to legalize all gambling within the country as a means of raising taxes, increasing tourism and normalizing the activity so that it could be discussed more freely throughout Iceland. However, this attempt failed and it has since fallen off the agenda.
Nevertheless, as we mentioned above, while many forms of gambling are largely illegal within Iceland, there has not been a single prosecution for anyone playing online (in fact, the law doesn’t mention this particular form of gambling at all) so it is considered perfectly safe to do so.
There are many online casinos that accept players living in Iceland, but there are not all that many that offer a fully localized experience. This is presumably because of the relatively small population compared to other European nations, so most sites Icelanders use are either in English or one of the other Scandinavian languages spoken by a certain percentage of Icelandic people. The same reason goes for players being able to use the Icelandic krone – most online casinos do not offer this as a currency option, but instead offer alternatives such as euros, Norwegian krone, or US dollars, for example. Finally, it is extremely rare (if not impossible) to find customer support agents or indeed live dealer croupiers that are fluent in Icelandic.
Those wanting the full Las Vegas-style experience of playing roulette, blackjack, and baccarat at an Icelandic casino are fresh out of luck. They simply don’t exist within the country, due to gambling being illegal. There is one ‘casino’ near to Reykjavik International Airport called Háspenna, but this only offers a limited selection of slots machines that are far inferior to modern online video slots. Likewise, those wanting to bet on sporting events won’t find retail outlets such as those seen in other European countries – again, online is the only option here.
A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.
Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.
If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.
The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.
The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.
Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.
The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.
The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.