Profits and number of customers increased at Norwegian government-owned gambling monopoly operator Norsk Tipping in 2022, according to its latest annual report.
In 2022, 2.1m Norwegians placed at least one bet with Norsk Tipping, 44,000 more than in 2021.
At the same time, profit generated for good causes increased from by NOK300m to NOK6.58bn (€573m).
Norsk Tipping CEO Thor Eriksen said: “When over 2.1 million choose to play at Norsk Tipping, it shows that we are succeeding in our mission to get Norwegians to choose the regulated, responsible offer. It is not a matter of course when we know how large the illegal supply on the internet is.”
Additionally, minister for culture and equality Anette Trettebergstuen praised the NOK33m allocated to take action against problem gambling, which is NOK8m more than last year.
“Gambling problems do not only affect the person who gambles, but it can also have major negative consequences for family and friends. It is a social problem that the government takes very seriously. That is why we are stepping up the work against problem gambling through a record-breaking financial effort,” she said.
Norway, along with Finland, is one of the last monopoly gambling markets in Europe.
Finland is currently at a crossroads, with the next government recently being told by researchers of a study into its exclusive rights model to either introduce a licensing system or more restrictions against illegal gambling.
The study examined the gambling systems in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and France, which all have licensing systems in place, as well as Norway.
The countries that implemented licence systems were deemed to “have succeeded in significantly improving the degree of channelisation of online gambling. On the other hand, varying estimates have been presented during the survey work on the degree of channelisation of the Norwegian exclusive rights system,” according to the report.
In recent years, Norsk Tipping has introduced robust mandatory player protection measures, such as loss limits, while authorities have been attempting to increase enforcement action against gambling operators found to be targeting Norwegian consumers.
“Our most important job will always be to keep the level of problem gambling in the population down through a responsible gambling offer. When it is in place, the community enjoys a sustainable profit,” Eriksen said.
Further bolstering channelling efforts are actions against illegal gambling offerings, with the Norwegian Gambling Authority recently saying it will begin blocking offshore gambling websites from the start of 2024.
The last official Norwegian survey on problem gambling was carried out in 2019 and the results were published in 2020, revealing approximately 1.4 percent of the population were gambling addicts, an increase of 62 percent since 2015, and 3.1 percent could be considered moderate-risk gamblers.
A new population survey was carried out in the second half of 2022, but the results will not be published until later in 2023.
Since 2006, Gambling Addiction Norway has published statistics on the number of inquiries the association receives from people with gambling problems and their relatives. The number of new inquiries decreased by 7.4 percent, from 822 to 761, from 2021 to 2022, with 308 wanting to receive Gamban’s blocking software.
Another study on problem gamblers found they cost Norwegian society NOK5.1bn (€520.5m), according to a survey undertaken by the National Competence Center for Gambling Research at the University of Bergen.
On January 1, 2023, the Norwegian Gambling Act came into force, updating and consolidating the three previous laws on gambling, which are the Lotteries Act, the Gambling Act and the Totalisator Act. The act also introduces new provisions, such as requiring 0.5 percent of Norsk Tipping's profit to tackle problem gambling.
The detailed distribution of the funds will be clear in Autumn 2023, according to the government.
Separately, culture minister Trettebergstuen welcomed Sylvia Brustad as the new chairperson of Norsk Tipping and Kristin Heimdal as a new board member after they were both recently elected.
Brustad is a former member of parliament and minister in four ministries.
“There are few in Norway who have the political weight and leadership expertise that Brustad has and we are confident that Brustad will contribute to the company being able to continue to protect vulnerable players and at the same time ensure that as much as possible of the surplus from gambling in Norway can benefit the whole society for good,” Trettebergstuen said.
Bristad replaced Linda Silseth, who held the position for more than eight years.