Norway has spawned several world-famous poker pros in Annette Obrestad, Johnny Lodden and Thor Hansen. This is quite amazing when you consider that these players can’t even enjoy a legal poker tournament on their home soil. Luckily, that’s set to change with Norway’s Culture Minister, Thorhild Widvey, calling for the legalization of poker tourneys.
At this time, the only forms of legal gaming in Norway are the lottery and limited sports betting. Widvey and other politicians in the country’s newly elected Progress Party coalition government are moving towards expanding the gaming market to capitalize on revenue.
This expanded market will most likely include poker as Widvey recently wrote, “I hope we can have a regulatory framework in place in time for a Norway championship of poker to be held in Norway in 2015… the Gaming Act permits the government to allow tournaments through regulation and therefore it is probably not a matter for Parliament.”
A Norwegian Poker Championship would definitely be a great way to usher in a new era of poker freedoms. However, Norwegian players shouldn’t expect too many freedoms because the current proposal only allows for low stakes tournaments. But any tournament is better than none, even if buy-ins are capped at $500 (or whatever the case may be).
It’s interesting timing that Norway is moving closing towards legalizing poker tournaments. Just a couple of months ago, Ola “Odd Oddsen” Amundsgaard challenged politician Erlan Wiborg to a PLO heads-up match.
The idea was to beat Wiborg bad enough that Amundsgaard could show poker is indeed a game of skill. He definitely accomplished this feat too after Wiborg lost $2,666 in their first online session and quickly threw in the towel. We have to think that this publicity might have a little to do with generating more government goodwill towards poker.