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Changes in Norwegian Gambling Habits and the Influence of the Ban on Slot Machines

SINTEF has performed two independent surveys of gambling habits and problems in the Norwegian population. One survey was performed before and one after the ban on slot machines came into force. In spite of the ban, no significant change was found in the prevalence of gambling among persons with a gambling problem.

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In 2009, changes in individual gaming habits were to be studied in a follow-up study; the sample population included persons both with and without gambling problems. Particular attention was paid to former slot machine gamblers: did they play more or less after the slot machine ban?

The follow-up study consisted of a quantitative questionnaire study and a qualitative in-depth telephone interview. NODS was used to identify any gambling problems. Telephone interviews were conducted with 16 persons without any gambling problems, three persons at risk of developing gambling problems, and 29 persons with a self-reported gambling problem. Additionally, five relatives of gamblers were interviewed.

There were no significant changes from 2007 to 2009 in the number of existing gamblers who had gambled in the course of the current year, while there were somewhat fewer players in 2009 than in 2008. The persons who participated in the questionnaire surveys in 2007 and 2008 did not necessarily play the same games in 2009. The proportion of players of different games was much the same from 2007 and 2008 to 2009, apart from a slight increase in players of Lotto-variants. About two-thirds of “at risk” gamblers changed their NODS score from 2007 and 2008 to 2009, most of them to “low-risk” gamblers. More individuals reduced than increased the severity of their gambling problem. The qualitative telephone interview study also showed that the ban on slot machines had led to about half of slot machine users either significantly reduced or completely ceased to gamble for money. The other half of the sample either gambled as much a before or even played more. People with a gambling problem demand better treatment options and somewhere to apply for financial counseling.


The follow-up study showed that gambling habits change in some people in the course of two or three years. The ban on slot machines had a positive effect on around half of their frequent users.

Key Factors

Project duration

01/01/2009 - 01/07/2010


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  • Bakken IJ og Weggeberg H: Pengespill og pengespillproblem i Norge 2008. SINTEF Rapport nr A8499 (download)
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  • Bakken et al.,“Gambling behaviour and gambling problems in Norway 2007”, 2009;mar 9