10,000 Norwegians can't be wrong for gambling survey

Or that's what the Norwegian Gaming Board is hoping. Surveys have been sent to 10,000 randomly selected Norwegians by SINTEF Health Research, financed by the Gaming Board, to study their cash gambling habits.

The study is a follow-up to one done in 2002 by the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research, which showed certain groups are overrepresented among problem gamblers; men, people under 25 and persons from non-Norwegian ethnic backgrounds.

The main focus of this survey is cash gambling, ranging from scratchcards and Lotto to one-armed bandits and Internet poker, and researchers will also be asking gamblers' families and friends what they think.

"Our study is the first that will also include the families of people with a gambling addiction," says project manager Anita Øren of SINTEF Health Research, the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia.

An important aim of the study is to find out whether people's gambling problems have increased in scope since the survey in 2002, where they came to the conclusion 49,000 people between 15 and 74 either had, or had previously had, a serious gambling problem.

The gross turnover of Norway's regulated gaming industry was more than NOK 20 billion then, but by 2005, that turnover had already reached NOK 42.5 billion.

"Since (2002), the gross turnover of the Norwegian gambling market has risen by 25 percent," says Norwegian Gaming Board director Atle Hamar.

"There is also Internet gambling, which is not subject to controls. The authorities wish to see how this affects gambling addiction at population level."

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