Responsible gaming

More people struggling with gambling problems

More Norwegians are experiencing gambling problems now than 4 years ago. Norsk Tipping’s most important job is to reverse this trend.

The latest public survey on gaming, Norsk Tipping’s Playscan Index, and the number of calls to help organisations all show that gambling problems are increasing in Norway.

As the largest provider of gaming in Norway, Norsk Tipping must accept significant responsibility for reversing this negative trend. This ambition has been given a high priority in its corporate governance, with clearly formulated goals. The company’s management team are presented with the latest developments every month, and both the Board and the Ministry of Culture are regularly briefed on the work.

The ambition is to contribute to the next public survey showing positive results.

3.1 Pressekonferanse bef.undersøkelse. Foto UiBFrom the press conference where LST and UiB presented the results from the public survey.

Significant rise

The public survey on gambling and video game problems in Norway is conducted by the University of Bergen on behalf of the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority. It analyses the prevalence and development of problem and risky gaming among the population every 4 years.

The survey for 2015-2019 was presented in June 2020. It shows that there are 55,000 problem gamblers and 122,000 moderate risk gamblers in Norway. This represents an increase of around 21,000 problem gamblers and around 50,000 problem and at-risk gamblers since the survey in 2015.

The report points to possible causes for the increase:

  • Increasing turnover
  • More players
  • Greater availability (far more play online)
  • Increasing exposure to advertising
  • Greater influence from advertising
  • More players playing high-risk games

Online casino games cause the greatest problems. The report also points out that the marketing of gaming appears to be more problematic for players at risk than has been found in previous analyses.

While Norsk Tipping’s games do not stand out as particularly problematic, it is obvious that the company has an important role to play in reversing the trend. Towards the end of 2020, we introduced a number of special measures designed to supplement our existing responsibility framework and counteract the trend. These are followed up in the company’s action plan for 2021. This states that the company will strengthen the responsibility framework in general, and particularly within casino games. The company will also focus on developing safe, attractive lotteries, which is a category where there is a lower inherent risk of developing problem gaming behaviour.

Norsk Tipping’s categorisation of risky gaming

There are various ways of categorising at-risk gamblers. Different companies do so in different ways and different criteria are applied when it comes to how risk is assessed. The thresholds for what it takes to consider a player as being in a high, moderate, or low risk zone differ.

Within its framework for mandatory loss limits and an otherwise strict responsibility framework, Norsk Tipping employs a strict interpretation of the risk assessment indicators. The aim is to catch risky behaviour early on so that people are flagged as being in the target group for preventive measures and communication at an early stage. On average, a red player loses around NOK 1,900 per month playing Norsk Tipping’s games.

In its work on thresholds for green, yellow, and red behaviour, Norsk Tipping has tried to get as close to the definitions for low, moderate, and high risk in the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority’s public survey as possible. Norsk Tipping uses the tool Playscan to measure the likelihood of developing gambling problems.

All transactions by all customers in Norsk Tipping are monitored by the games monitor Playscan, which in turn provides the individual customer with information about healthy or unhealthy gaming behaviour. Playscan is an analytical tool that looks at changes in gaming behaviour to detect a risk developing gambling problems. It is not a tool for diagnosing gambling addiction, rather it is an indicator of risk or changes in behaviour based on analyses of a large number of criteria related to the customers’ gaming behaviour. The total sum of time and money and intensity of the gaming are two of a large number of categories in which different behavioural indicators are ranked and analysed.

The sum of Playscan information for the entire customer base is called the Playscan Index. It is used as an indication of how successful a company is at preventing gambling problems. A positive index indicates a trend towards healthier (green) gaming behaviour. A negative index indicates a trend towards unhealthy (red) gaming behaviour.

Norsk Tipping did not achieve a positive Playscan Index for 2020. This trend thus supports the findings from the public survey. It is worth noting that the greatest contribution to the Playscan Index’s negative trend was made by players moving from green to yellow status, in other words from being low risk to being moderate risk. There were fewer red players, that is high-risk players, in 2020 than the year before.

CategoryGreen GGRYellow GGRRed GGR
Total for NT 20205 734 190 4481 394 919 4861 034 665 456
Online gambling 2020261 792 981448 023 301542 067 859
Lottery games 20205 147 900 248470 398 145107 009 194
Sports betting 2020292 381 722312 834 248280 392 232
Electronic gaming
machines (EGM) 2020
32 115 497163 663 793105 196 171
Total for NT 20195 425 712 4611 205 899 7921 025 885 589
Online gambling 2019215 177 156274 831 478489 232 748
Lottery games 20194 771 674 115347 641 585109 528 410
Sports betting 2019368 781 488351 686 124227 097 485
Electronic gaming
machines (EGM) 2019
70 079 703231 740 605200 026 945

The revenue does not include physical Flax lottery tickets.

CategoryNo. greenNo. yellowNo. red
Total for NT 20202 006 154261 14174 494
Online gambling 2020501 066180 71759 633
Lottery games 20201 932 125212 51355 869
Sports betting 2020357 481113 37639 388
Electronic gaming machines (EGM) 202033 25633 53317 785
Total for NT 20191 959 727179 23171 382
Online gambling 2019424 116120 63653 845
Lottery games 20191 890 367140 38154 016
Sports betting 2019371 78288 11335 165
Electronic gaming machines (EGM) 201953 09244 21827 549

The revenue does not include physical Flax lottery tickets.

Total for NT 202070%17%13%
Online gambling 202021%36%43%
Lottery games 202089%8%2%
Sports betting 202033%35%32%
Electronic gaming machines (EGM) 202011%54%35%
Total for NT 201971%16%13%
Online gambling 201922%28%50%
Lottery games 201991%7%2%
Sports betting 201939%37%24%
Electronic gaming machines (EGM) 201914%46%40%

The revenue does not include physical Flax lottery tickets.

Casinos have the highest risk

The reasons for the negative trend are complex. Part of it may be due to Norsk Tipping channelling highly engaged players from competing companies. The authorities’ increasingly effective tools, which make it difficult for unregulated gaming providers to market themselves and sell games to Norwegians, probably contributed to this trend. At the same time, we can see that a larger proportion of Norsk Tipping’s new and existing customers that previously stuck to lotteries and Flax are now more likely to try high-risk games. Online casino games are generally the games that cause the most gambling problems. It is, therefore, worrying that this type of game has seen both an increase in turnover and player numbers in recent years.

In the debate that followed presentation of the public survey, some people highlighted Norsk Tipping’s Belago terminals as the main problem. It is correct that Belago has a very high proportion of at-risk gamblers. However, the number of customers is so low and the number who name Belago as their main gambling problem to the Helpline so few (0.4 per cent) that a discussion about Belago should not hinder a discussion about the forms of gaming that produce the most problems.

In winter 2021, Norsk Tipping worked on revising its online casino strategy with the aim of counteracting the trend of an increasing proportion of red players, including in its own online gaming.

We can see that the proportion of red players is also increasing in our own online gaming, even though the games are not advertised. An increase in gambling problems linked to online casinos has been a source of concern for a long time. In winter 2021, Norsk Tipping worked on revising its online casino strategy with the aim of counteracting this trend. Casino games will in particular be addressed in the development of new responsibility tools. Other measures are also being developed.

The Helpline in 2020

The Helpline for gaming problems operates as a collaboration between the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority and Innlandet Hospital Trust, Sanderud. Statistics from the Helpline show a fall in the number of enquiries in 2020. The drop was clearest in March and April, in other words when society was most impacted by staying at home. According to the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority, Sweden and Denmark saw the same trend.

In 2020, the Helpline launched a chat service for its users, and it can now be contacted via chat, telephone, and email. The Helpline uses the results from first-time calls to obtain as accurate a picture as possible of which games are causing problems for those who contact them. This ensures the same player is not counted multiple times. Some of those who contact them also say they are experiencing problems because of more than one game.

The number of enquiries about gaming fell by 3 per cent from 621 to 601, while there has been a sharp increase in the use of the Helpline’s website, which received a makeover in 2020. The Helpline believes it is likely that it is seeing the effects of it becoming harder for people to contact it in a period where they are surrounded by family more than usual.

As in previous years, enquiries about casino games dominate: In half of the enquiries, the players name online casino games as their main gaming problem. It is worth noting that only around 287,000 Norwegians play in online casinos, while around 2 million Norwegians play lotteries. In conversations about casino games, foreign gaming companies are mentioned as the sole provider in 47 per cent of the calls, Norsk Tipping as the sole gaming company in 4 per cent of calls, and both in 34 per cent of the calls.

Primary or only problem gameNumberPercentage
Casino games23051 %
Odds gaming (including in-play betting)7617 %
Poker225 %
Bingo204 %
Net based bingo30,7 %
NT Belago (electronic gaming machines for bingo)20,4 %
Horse race betting123 %
NT Multix (Electronic gaming machines for retail outlets)30,7 %
Lotto, Vikinglotto, Eurojackpot‚ Extra, Joker, Keno and Nabolaget51 %
Sport pools betting40,9 %
Scratchcards51 %
Gambling72 %
Gambling, unspecified5813 %
Video gaming30,7 %
Total450100 %
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