During autumn 2015 researchers at the University of Bergen conducted a survey concerning gambling and video game problems in the general adult population of Norway. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Norwegian Gaming Authority. In all, 14,000 persons (gross sample), aged 16–74 years, were randomly selected from the National Population Registry of Norway and invited to participate. All received a paper-based questionnaire. A total of 5,485 valid answers (net sample) were received. After removing persons with wrong addresses, or for reasons of illness, death or being abroad etc. at the time of the survey, a response rate of 40.8 percent was obtained. Up to two reminders were sent. A total of 57.9 percent had participated in gambling during the previous 12 months which did not reflect any significant change since the previous survey conducted in 2013.
To assess the prevalence of gambling problems, the Canadian Problem Gambling Index was administered. Based on the total score obtained, the respondents were divided into the following four categories: non-problem gambler (score = 0), low risk gambler (score = 1-2), moderate risk gambler (score = 3-7), and problem gambler (score = 8-27).
The results showed that 7.7 percent of the adult population could be categorized as low risk gamblers, 2.3 percent as moderate risk gamblers and 0.9 percent as problem gamblers, respectively. Compared to the previous population based survey about gambling and gaming problems in Norway (conducted during autumn 2013) no significant change in the prevalence of gambling problems was detected. The current prevalence of gambling related problems is somewhat lower compared to national surveys conducted between 2005 and 2010, albeit somewhat higher than the prevalence reported in national surveys conducted in 1997 and 2002.
Compared to international surveys the prevalence of gambling related problems in Norway is overall relatively low. In terms of the Nordic context, the prevalence of gambling problems seems to somewhat higher or at the same level as found in our neighbouring countries.
In the present study we found that the probability of being a moderate risk- or problem gambler was elevated in males, people with low education, confirmed unemployment/disability pension/rehabilitation/work assessment allowance, in subjects with place of birth outside Norway (Africa, Asia or South and Central-America) and among those who had participated in video games during the last 6 months.
When it comes to participation in different gambling activities, the majority of gamblers reported having participated in scratch cards (non Internet-based) and numbers games. Males had participated more frequently than females in most types of games. Bingo in bingo premises was the only type of gambling where women participated more frequently than males. Younger gamblers participated overall more frequently than elderly in typically novel types of gambling activities (typically internet based) whereas older gamblers participated more frequently than younger gamblers in more “traditional games” such as horse betting, soccer pools (not odds games) and numbers games. Those who scored 3 or more on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index participated more frequently in all types of games compared to those with lower scores. Internet based casino gambling and internet based bingo (not Norsk Tipping) comprised the gambling categories with the highest proportion of gamblers reporting problems controlling/restricting their gambling behavior. In terms of overrepresentation of moderate risk gamblers and problem gamblers in games played by relatively many, this was especially pronounced for casino games, internet poker and odds-games.
In all, 29.2 percent of the gamblers had gambled via the Internet during the last 12 months. This occurred most frequently among males, younger subjects and among those with a score of 3 or more on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index. Most of those who gambled via the Internet used a lap-top or a mobile phone for this purpose.
A vast majority of all respondents had been exposed to gambling related advertising during the previous 12 months. Young people reported greater exposure than older subjects. Those who scored 3 or more on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index reported more gambling related advertising exposure than those with lower scores. Compared to the population based survey about gambling and gaming problems in Norway in 2013 the
current survey showed a significant increase in exposure to gambling related advertising on TV and on the internet, and a decrease in exposure to gambling related advertising in newspapers and shops.
It was found that gambling related advertising had a considerable effect in terms of informing about games and game operators. Gambling related advertising was reported to influence gambling behavior and gambler’s urge to gamble to a certain degree, but risky gambling was reported only to a small degree as having been triggered by gambling related advertising. Overall, men, younger persons and persons with gambling related problems reported having been more influenced by gambling related advertising than their respective
counterparts. This brings up to date a discussion concerning regulation of gambling advertising. Attitudes towards structural regulation of gambling were overall relatively neutral. An upper loss limit, set either by the player him/herself or by the game and continuous feedback about losses comprised the three structural regulation proposals which were most favorably evaluated. Women, younger people and persons with a score of 3 or more on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index were more positive to structural regulation of gambling than were men, older persons and persons with lower scores on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index. Respondents born in Norway were less positive to structural regulation of gambling than persons born outside Norway (Africa, Asia, South or Central-America), especially related to feedback about duration of the gambling session and self-set limits related to maximal losses.
Several potential gambling motives were listed in the questionnaire. About 60 percent of the gamblers reported “for fun” and “to win” as relevant gambling motives. Those with a score of 3 or more on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index reported more frequently all motives than those with lower scores except “for fun”, “don’t know” and “other motives. The motive “to support a good cause” was more frequently reported by those with a score of 0-2 on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index compared to those with higher scores.
The frequency of different psychosomatic symptoms reported generally increased proportionately with gambling category (non-problem gambler, low risk gambler, moderate risk gambler, problem gambler).
In all, 38.5 percent had played video games during the last six months. This proportion had not changed compared to the previous population based survey about gambling and gaming problems. More males than females and more younger than older respondents had played. Excessive video game playing was assessed with the Game Addiction Scale for Adolescents. Based on the data from this scale, 96.7 percent were categorized as normal video game players (including those who had not played), 2.8 percent were categorized
as video game problem players and 0.5 percent were categorized as video game addicts. These frequencies had not changed significantly since the previous population based survey about gambling and gaming problems. Being categorized as either a video game problem player or a video game addict was related to male gender, low age, and being born outside Norway (Africa, Asia, South or Central-America). Those of the gamers who were categorized as problem gamers or addicted had during the last 6 months spent more money on purchasing and upgrading video games and had staked more money on the outcome of video games they themselves participated in, compared to normal video game players. Those who were problem video game players/addicted reported overall more frequently psychosomatic symptoms compared to the normal video game players/non-players. A total of 42.8 percent of gamers had played via social media. This was most frequently reported by females and younger subjects.
The later the wave (first wave, first and second reminder) the participants responded to, the higher was the reported prevalence of problems related to both gambling and gaming. Thus, based in extrapolation there is reason to assume that the real problem prevalences are somewhat higher that those reported in this report.