The authorities did not wait until 2023 before they started the job of enforcing the new measures. Last autumn was an eventful one. Many of the largest illegal gambling providers announced that they were withdrawing TV commercials targeted at the Norwegian public. This was followed by one celebrity after another having their contracts terminated.
This does not mean that the pressure from advertising has ended. There are still plenty of examples of where the illegal marketing has switched to social media channels, text messages and email to an even greater extent. However, the wide-ranging public exposure has vanished, and that is a relief for all Norwegians who struggle with gaming
As far as Norsk Tipping is concerned, we took several steps to lower the temperature in the gaming market in 2022. When the illegal commercials disappeared from TV, we also suspended Norsk Tipping’s TV commercials for sports games. At the same time, we moved our online casino offering off our homepage, both online and on mobile phones, so that as few customers as possible would stumble across the offering that is available. This was done because the online casino market is still where the biggest problems are seen.
In the past 2 years, Norsk Tipping has carried out our own annual problem gaming surveys. The aim is to monitor developments more closely between the official population-based surveys on gaming conducted by the University of Bergen. They provide faster feedback on whether the preventive measures we have introduced are working as intended. We saw no signs of an increase in problem gamblers in 2022. All of the indicators in the company’s annual responsibility report were also green. On the whole, the gaming behaviour of the customer base is moving in a healthy direction.
We continue to make internal changes within the company. The goal is to achieve even more digital clout. We also want to further boost the areas of social responsibility and sustainability, which have been top priorities in the target and business plan. We worked on making sustainability an integral part of activities throughout 2022. We have set specific goals for cutting emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. In accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we continue to work for equality, both in-house and in all of our sponsorship agreements. Last year, we also established a new partnership with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess’ Foundation aimed at joining forces to counter social exclusion.
Financially speaking, the company delivered a good annual result again in 2022. The surplus funds for good causes increased by NOK 300 million year-on-year to NOK 6 582 billion. In parallel with this growth we introduced preventive measures to curb sales. We also strive to ensure we operate as efficiently as possible. Our cost ratio is now 27.4 per cent. This is more than 5 per cent lower than 5 years ago.
However, what we are most pleased about is our customer numbers. Last year, no fewer than 2 136 003 Norwegians played at least one Norsk Tipping game. That is 44 000 more than in 2021. We are pleased that yet again we have been able to convince Norwegians to choose our regulated gaming offering, which provides customers with world-class consumer protection. This is a position that we will work hard to keep every day in 2023 as well. The fact that Norsk Tipping has a relationship with such a large proportion of the adult Norwegian population ensures support for the Norwegian gaming model.
We will be celebrating Norsk Tipping’s 75th anniversary in 2023. We have got the Norwegian public to choose a responsible gaming option since 1948. At the same time, the surplus funds have every year gone to fund activities in Norway that we all love: sports, community, culture and voluntary work. Our official ‘birthday’ was on 13.3.2023, however, our anniversary will be marked by a number of small events throughout the year.