Just as it’s possible to find multiple unlicensed online casinos on the market today, you can also take advantage of many sites that exclusively offer online poker without a Nordic license. It’s not illegal for Nordic players to use unregulated poker sites but there are some things you should know before doing so, in order to protect your interests and get the most out of online poker on sites that are licensed outside of the Nordic regions.
Poker without a license refers to those online poker sites that are not covered by a gaming license in any of the Nordic countries. These sites are referred to as “poker utan licens” in Scandinavia, or poker without license in English. These types of sites hold instead a license from a different regulatory body located in another country.
The past four years there’s been a lot of changes in the Nordic gaming market. Online casinos with a license in Sweden, Denmark and Norway are no longer allowed to offer the same number of bonuses and benefits for players, for example. The Nordi license is also strict when it comes to players' rights and responsible gaming. Therefore, there is a greater risk in choosing a poker site that is regulated outside Nordic countries.
Despite the risks, some Scandinavian players still choose to play on poker sites that do not have a gaming license, mostly because of the greater variety of promotions and other benefits. But it is important to realize what risks you are exposed to when choosing an unlicensed poker site. One thing to keep in mind is that it is not possible to take a break from gambling via a self exclusion system such as Spelpaus or Rofus.
If you choose to play on a poker site without a license, it’s also worth noting that there may be some tax that applies on your winnings. This depends entirely on which poker site you choose to play on. For operators licensed outside the EU, a 30% profit tax applies.
It is completely legal to play on poker sites that do not have a license. It is however illegal for operators to target Nordic players without holding a valid license, but many operators still choose to bypass the gaming license and accept Scandinavian players anyway.
One major aspect that distinguishes licensed operators from those without a license is Spelpaus and Rofus, the national self exclusion systems in Sweden and Denmark respectively. This means that there are poker sites without Spelpaus that are not covered by the Swedish gaming law. Choosing a poker site without Spelpaus or Rofus can involve certain risks, especially if you have previously used a break to block yourself from all play in Sweden.
Because Spelpaus is not available on foreign sites, you can not perform a total self-suspension from all sites where you have a gaming account. It is still possible to close your gaming account on these sites, but you would need to do it manually by, for example, contacting customer support.
Spelpaus or Rofus are used by all operators who have a Nordic license as they are required to offer this feature by the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate's laws and regulations. These systems were put in place to reduce gambling addiction in Sweden and they work in such a way that players can shut themselves off from all types of games at a national level. If a player suspends from playing on a poker site under the Swedish license, they will also be suspended from playing poker at physical casinos like Casino Cosmopol.
With Spelpaus, players have the option to shut down for up to 6 months or until further notice (1 year). Those who want to exclude themselves from gambling can confirm this decision via their BankID. Once the shutdown has gone through, it is not possible to cancel the shutdown prematurely.
There are many reasons why some players want to explore “unregulated” poker sites but most of them concern bonuses:
Unlicensed sites are still regulated since many often have a license from the Malta Gaming Authority or Curacao. MGA-licensed online casinos have stricter requirements to follow than those licensed by Curacao, but you can take advantage of the additional bonuses offered by Curacao-licensed sites. However, one major disadvantage is that you do have to pay tax on any profits you make playing on a poker site licensed by Curacao.
You will find all the most popular variations of poker on unlicensed sites, including Texas Holdem, Three Card Poker, Casino Holdem and Caribbean Stud Poker, among others. Most sites also offer players the option of playing with low or high stakes. High rollers and experienced players may prefer to choose a poker table with high stakes in order to play against like-minded players who can afford to take that risk.
Poker sites offer the possibility of playing the game directly in your browser, meaning that you do not need to download any additional software to play your favourite games. The only thing to keep in mind is that a fast and stable internet connection is necessary so that there are no interruptions during online poker games.
If you want something a little extra when playing poker online, you could also choose to download a poker client. This enhances your gaming experience and almost makes you feel like you're playing at a physical poker table.
There are several variations of poker games that you can enjoy at a unlicensed poker site. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Texas Hold’em is considered to be the most popular variation of online poker, both when it comes to poker sites with a license as well as those sites without a license. One thing that is important when playing Texas Hold’em is that you are familiar with the basic rules of the game since some strategy is required.
The purpose of Texas Hold’em is for you to form the strongest poker hand with your own two cards and the cards on the poker table. Texas Hold’em is a poker game that can be played with up to 10 players, both online but also at physical casinos. There are different variants of Texas Hold’em, including:
Poker players can bet all chips and play fully. This is the most common type of Texas Hold’em Poker.
Just as the name suggests, players are limited when it comes to the size of the bets since these are already predetermined.
A poker variant of Texas Hold’em where you can bet no higher than the maximum size of the pot.
Card Stud poker, or Stötpoker as it is known in Swedish, is another poker variant that is very popular. You can play Shock Poker on most poker sites without a Nordic license. Shock poker also requires that you have some knowledge of the basic rules, but as with most things, practice makes perfect.
You can try playing free online poker without a license to brush up your skills before placing any real money bets. Shock Poker can be played with a maximum of eight players at the table and often, a predetermined bet that applies. Just like in Texas Hold’em, you need to get the best poker hand in Shock Poker with five cards.
You will not be able to choose Swish as a payment method on unlicensed poker sites, since this option is limited to Swedish-licensed operators. Some poker sites do offer Trustly as well as a variety of other secure payment methods. Should you have any problems with the transactions, you can always contact customer support on the poker site you choose to play on.
You can choose to use your VISA or MasterCard as a payment method on the majority of poker sites without a Nordic license. Deposits with debit cards are made directly while the withdrawal time can vary between 2-5 banking days but this depends on your bank.. Debit cards are however the slowest payment method when it comes to withdrawals, so it may be worth checking out what other options are offered.
Some poker sites that do not have a Nordic license offer cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin for deposits and withdrawals. Cryptocurrencies are growing in popularity as a payment method at online casinos but only a handful of reliable sites accept them.
For those players who like fast withdrawals, e-wallets are your best choice. If Trustly is not available on a poker site without a license, either Skrill or Neteller are good alternatives. This payment method gives players direct withdrawals so you can see your winnings immediately in your account. Keep in mind that some delays may occur but this is down to issues with your bank and not Skrill or Neteller.
Trustly and DirektBank are the top choices for Nordic players when it comes to online payment methods. All you need to do is transfer money directly from your bank account to your online casino account using your BankID or NemID. This process takes just a few minutes and all deposits and withdrawals are instant.
Yes, it's fully legal to play at a poker site without a license. You can see all the sites that offer unlicensed poker here.
Yes, it's definitely possible to play at a lotto without license if you have used a national self-exclusion like Spelpaus or ROFUS.