Foreign gaming companies were banned from advertising. Now fewer Norwegians have gambling problems
Approximately 1.4 per cent of Norwegians are addicted to gambling, according to Norwegian Health Information. Now it seems that the numbers are decreasing.
This is according to a new study conducted by the University of Bergen (UiB) and published in the scientific journal International Gambling Studies.
The study is based on data from over 195,000 Norwegians.
In 2021, a ban on advertising for foreign gaming companies came into effect. Now it appears that fewer people are having trouble controlling their gambling habits.
Researchers from UiB are now seeing a halving of the group with the most severe gambling problems.
One of the authors of the report is Professor Ståle Pallesen at UiB.
He points out to Norwegian newspaper VG (link in Norwegian) that the decrease in gambling problems may be attributed to less gambling advertising, combined with stricter payment restrictions imposed by banks, as well as the introduction of a debt registry in 2019.
Halving of gambling addicts
The study finds that some of the games that cause the most problems for Norwegians are from Norsk Tipping, the state-owned gambling company.
“We have arrived at two possible explanations: The first is that these games have a particularly addictive effect. The second explanation is that those who have gambling problems may be playing a greater variety of games than those of us who do not have problems. But it is difficult to say for certain,” Pallesen tells VG.
The survey’s findings show that 23,000 Norwegians are addicted to gambling, which is a halving of the number over four years, according to VG.
93,000 Norwegians are considered to be at risk of developing gambling problems. In the previous survey conducted in 2019, the number was reported to be 122,000.
Believes in stricter regulations
The survey shows the lowest numbers of gambling problems ever recorded in Norway, according to Henrik Nordal, deputy director of the Norwegian Gambling and Foundation Authority. To VG, he points to stricter regulations as an explanation for the decline.
The same opinion is shared by Minister of Culture and Equality Anette Trettebergstuen.
“We see that measures that reduce the visibility and offerings from foreign gambling companies contribute to reducing problematic gambling,” Trettebergstuen told VG.
Fewer inquiries at preventive organisations
Spillavhengighet Norge (Gambling Addiction Norway) is an organisation that works on preventing gambling addiction and helps people who are already struggling.
A graph based on data from the organisation, shown on the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK, indicates that inquiries about gambling addiction reached a peak in 2021 (link in Norwegian). They noticed an increase during the pandemic.
“There is still a wide range of people affected by gambling addiction, people from all walks of life. We see more inquiries where both substance abuse and gambling are a problem. In terms of age, we encounter more young people, in their 20s, than before,” Oddvar Jordheim Tyssen, a psychologist at the Blue Cross outpatient clinic in Oslo, said in the NRK article.
Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik.
Syvertsen et al. Age and gender differences in gambling intensity in a Norwegian population of electronic gaming machine players, International Gambling Studies, 2023. DOI: 10.1080/14459795.2023.2199051