Norway’s Gambling Monopoly Declares Online Restrictions Stopped Pandemic Excess
Norway's gambling monopoly Norsk Tipping issued a report stating risky behavior dropped due to the suspension of certain forms of gambling during the nation's Covid-19 lockdown from March through September. Lotteries were the preferred type of gambling during the lockdown, but sports betting disappeared as leagues and competitions were suspended.
Temporarily suspending some forms of gambling led to a decrease in risky behavior, according to a pair of reports issued by the Norwegian gambling monopoly Norsk Tipping. The reports covered March to May and May to July, using player patterns of low risk (green), medium risk (yellow) and red (high risk). Norsk Tipping felt vulnerable players would be a much greater risk beginning in March when the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown began.
The report found lotteries were gamblers’ preferred form of gambling. As usual, participation rose in March with the usual Easter spike, attracting players with more promotions and draws. Also, an unusually large jackpot attracted many more players than is typical.
Sports betting virtually disappeared as leagues and competitions were suspended due to Covid-19. Norsk Tipping stated it declined directly encouraging sports bettors to play other games considered to be high-risk, such as casino gambling. Wagerers who usually bet on football and hockey did not switch to esports and Belarusian football. Some did make the transition but many players simply vanished while sports were on hold.
Digital scratch cards and online casinos had slight increases in activity and online bingo was steady during the first phase, the report indicated. Land-based gaming was the most impacted by the Covid-19 closures, particularly Norsk’s Multix and Belago slot halls.
In phase one, March through May, the level of risk-taking decreased significantly, partially due to the closure of Multix and Belago gaming terminals. Norsk Tipping considers many of the players of these games to be in the red or high-risk category.
In the second phase, May through July, the report showed gaming patterns began to return to pre-lockdown patterns. Multix and Belago players began moving toward pre-lockdown levels of play, despite social distancing requirements.
Players and betting levels returned to sports betting as soon as it became available again. The number of red players increased, partly due to the Norwegian Elite Series and the Premier League taking place at the same time. Rates have returned to normal since then.
Red players of online casino gambling also increased in July, but that number also has since declined. Players had more disposable income to spend on nonessential items, according to the report.