Norwegian Study in Problem Gambling Identifies Poker as Low Risk Activity
“With a score of 1.09 out of 10, poker was a long way behind riskier gambling activities such as bingo played in bingo halls (8.33), bingo played on the internet (7.14) and “Belago” (6.15).” Results from the largest problem gambling survey ever conducted in Norway have been published by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority. The study encompassed over 10,000 responses and concludes that problem gambling has reduced.
The government has plans to introduce new gaming laws that would liberalize the gaming market and explicitly legalize online poker. Those plans have been put on hold while responses are prepared to questions from the EU—Norway is not an EU member, but is a member of the European Economic Area, and complies with much EU regulation.
The results of this study will help to inform the response the government makes, and provide much data that will inform subsequent political debate.
Low Online Poker Participation
The survey reports that only 4.7% of respondents have played online poker, and only 0.2% at higher betting volumes—defined as wagering more than $4,600 over the previous 12 months.
The survey was conducted by the University of Bergen, which gave each respondent a standard problem gambling test, the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI).
The CPGI predates the more common Problem Gambling Severity Index, which uses a subset of nine questions taken from the 31 of the Canadian test.
Online Poker is Low Risk
Results showed that poker scored relatively low as a risk factor for problem gambling.
With a score of 1.09 out of 10, poker was a long way behind riskier gambling activities such as bingo played in bingo halls (8.33), bingo played on the internet (7.14) and “Belago” (6.15).
Belago is a game played like online slots on an interactive video terminal (IVT)—the terminals were developed to specifications drawn up by the Norwegian gambling regulator.
The report extrapolated the problem gambling figures to the 5m population of Norway and estimated that 7.8% of the adult population could be categorized as low risk gamblers, 2.4% as moderate risk gamblers and 0.6% as problem gamblers.