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Society and the market

Status of problem gambling in Norway

The aim of regulating gaming in Norway is to prevent problem gambling among the public. Several sources provide information that indicates how this is going.

The official means of measuring the extent of the problem gambling in Norway is the Norwegian Gaming Authority’s population-based survey. The resulting picture from this is supplemented by annual statistics from the Helpline and Spillavhengighet Norge, as well as our annual problem gambling surveys.

These are the five main metrics and statistics we look at to monitor the development of problem gambling in Norway and in Norsk Tipping:

  • Population-based survey on gaming (Norwegian Gaming Authority/University of Bergen)
  • Our Playscan index
  • Statistics from the Helpline
  • Statistics from Spillavhengighet Norge
  • From 2021 onwards: Annual problem gambling assessment by TNS Kantar (Norsk Tipping)

The population-based survey

The population-based survey is conducted by the University of Bergen on behalf of the Norwegian Gaming Authority and constitutes the official survey of problem gambling in Norway. The last survey was carried out in 2019 and the results were published in 2020. These showed that around 1.4 per cent of the population – approximately 55 000 people – were compulsive gamblers and that 3.1 per cent were regarded as moderate risk players.

Status of problem gambling in Norway

Sources: Kavli og Berntsen (2005), Kavli (2007), Kavli og Torvik (2008), Pran og Ukkelberg (2010), Universitetet i Bergen (2013, 2015 og 2019).

Norsk Tipping’s Playscan index

Playscan is an analytical tool that examines customer behaviour and assesses whether individuals have a high (red), moderate (yellow) or low (green) risk of experiencing problem gambling.

The tool registers changes in behaviour and assesses whether changes are moving in the direction of more or less risk based on a set of criteria. The sum of all the changes is called the Playscan index and indicates whether the gaming behaviour of the customer base has as a whole moved in a red or green direction. The index starts each year at zero. This means that a positive number for a year indicates healthier gaming behaviour, while a negative number indicates riskier gaming behaviour. That means that in the last 2 years our customers’ behaviour has changed in the direction of less risky gaming.

The Helpline

The Norwegian Gaming Authority publishes statistics from the Helpline every year. These show that the number of calls related to gaming increased from 637 to 735. The increase in first-time calls about gaming increased by 2 per cent (from 475 to 486).

Online casino games were singled out as the main problem game in half of the 486 first-time calls. Sports games were the main problem in 84 calls (17 per cent), while poker was named as the main problem in 28 calls (6 per cent).

We were also surprised to see traditional football betting being mentioned as the main problem in 10 calls compared with zero the year before.

Norsk Tipping was the only provider mentioned in 5 per cent of the calls about casino games. Both Norsk Tipping and foreign providers were mentioned in 32 per cent of the calls. Only foreign providers were mentioned in 56 per cent of calls about casino gaming.

Sports games was the only main problem for 17 per cent of the players who called the Helpline. 8 per cent of these named Norsk Tipping as the provider. 38 per cent named a foreign provider and in 42 per cent of the calls both Norsk Tipping and a foreign provider were named.

Many of the calls about casino games, sports games and poker were about gaming on foreign websites. In 2022, 52 per cent of these calls were exclusively about games offered by a foreign provider. If we include the calls where both Norsk Tipping and a foreign provider are mentioned, a foreign provider was mentioned in 86 per cent of all calls.

Statistics from Spillavhengighet Norge

Spillavhengighet Norge (‘Gambling Addiction Norway’) has published statistics on the number of calls the organisation receives from people with gambling problems and their families since 2006. The number of new calls fell by 7.4 per cent, from 822 to 761, from 2021 to 2022. The statistics show that calls about casino games are increasing (from 367 to 422), as are those about poker. Multix/Belago were also a topic in more calls in 2022 than in the year before.

308 wanted to receive the ‘Gamban’ filter that blocks PCs, tablets or phones from gaming websites.

Norsk Tipping’s problem gambling assessment

In 2019, the University of Bergen (and the Norwegian Gaming Authority) published the population-based survey that maps problem and risky gaming among the public. The survey showed that the extent of problem gambling in Norway had increased. We were worried about this trend in Norsk Tipping, and we introduced a number of measures designed to turn this negative development around.

Norsk Tipping believes that the population-based surveys (University of Bergen) provide the best mapping of the extent of problem gambling in Norway – they are the key. Since the official population-based survey is conducted at intervals of a few years, we need more frequent feedback on whether the measures we have put in place are having the desired effect on the public. We have, therefore, developed a problem gambling survey that will attempt to monitor the trend more frequently.

The plan is to conduct this survey annually.

The first survey was conduct in December 2021. A new survey was planned for December 2022, but we chose to postpone it until January 2023 in order not to disrupt the new population-based survey, which collected data during the period up to and including December 2022.

Aggregated assessments

The new survey shows no significant changes from December 2021 to January 2023, although the trend is towards a pleasing reduction in the extent of problem gambling (from 1.1 per cent to 0.8 per cent). At the same time, we can see that the proportion of moderate risk gamblers has increased (from 3.6 per cent to 4.5 per cent) – both because former risky players have moved in the direction of lower risk and because a number of low risk players have moved in the direction of higher risk games.

Was the 2019 population-based survey conducted when problem gambling was at a peak, or was the extent of problem gambling still growing? There is some uncertainty surrounding this. Given the growing digitalisation, pandemic and increase in the number of players playing high risk games in 2020, it is reasonable to believe that it was conducted as the problem was growing. Many of the measures Norsk Tipping has implemented to curb this trend were introduced in the period 2020-2022 and will have an impact over time.

Given this, Norsk Tipping believes that it is a positive sign that the problem gambling survey shows a decrease in the number of problem players, but that it is concerning that it shows an increase in the number of moderate risk players. This insight means that Norsk Tipping will intensify its focus on measures that also target moderate risk players. Spillepuls is one example of this.

The new population-based survey from the University of Bergen is expected to be published later in 2023.