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However, for our purposes, Jan Mayen isn’t worth worrying about as while the island is inhabited, it has no permanent population, and is just a military outpost, and doesn’t have any poker laws of their own to be concerned about.
In fact, the laws of both these islands are administered by the Norwegian government, so there’s nothing particular about the laws of Svalbard to be concerned about either, so this just leaves us to talk about what sort of gambling goes on in these two areas.
There’s certainly less to do in the Arctic, and gambling does tend to be fairly popular here, and even on Jan Mayen there is probably some poker games that go on among the people who are stationed there.
Neither Jan Mayen or Svalbard has any commercial gambling though, which isn’t surprising considering the extremely small population, which only totals about 3000 people, counting both islands. This isn’t enough to warrant any organized form of gambling, although social gambling can still occur at any size group. (2)
Online Poker in Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Since these islands are governed by Norwegian law, which has a gambling monopoly in place that does not offer online gambling, there is no sanctioned gambling in Svalbard and Jan Mayen either, and in fact Norwegian law does not permit online gambling at all, including online poker.
This doesn’t stop online poker players in Norway from playing online poker though, as this is a law that is near impossible to enforce successfully. Norway does attempt to ban transactions with online poker sites, and although players simply find a way around this by using alternative payment processors outside the reach of the government, and people on these islands are going to be subject to this intrusion as well, although this only makes things a little more inconvenient.
There is internet access in Svalbard by way of an undersea cable owned by NASA, so this is a first class connection and residents there can indeed play online poker if they wish.
Norway is in a transition period and there is pressure from the EU to break the gambling monopoly that exists, and put together an acceptable online gambling regulatory framework, as several other countries in Europe have done, and when this happens, this will impact Svalbard and Jan Mayen as well, prompting them to play on regulated sites only, and possibly involving banning of unlicensed online poker web sites, but the possibility of this is merely on the horizon at this time.