Regulatory Measures' Effect on Gambling Participation: Experiences From Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFrontiers in Psychiatry. 2021, 12, 672471. 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.672471
The purpose of gambling regulation can be to ensure revenue for the public, to prevent crime and gambling problems. One regulatory measure involves restriction of what games can be offered in a market. In this study, the effects of two regulatory market changes are investigated: First, a restriction of availability when slot machines were banned from the Norwegian market in 2007, and second the introduction of regulated online interactive games to the same market in 2014. Data collected from the general population in the period from 2005 through 2018, comprising 2,000 respondents every year, are used to investigate how participation in gambling changed over time. The respondents were asked if they took part in various games or lotteries. Logistic regression analyses were used to predict the proportion participating in five groups of games and if changes in participation coincided with major market changes. The first change was associated with a reduction in gambling on slot machines as well as a reduction in gambling participation overall. Following the slot machine ban, results show an increase in women participating in games offered in land-based bingo premises. A general increase in gambling on foreign websites was also seen, albeit much smaller than the reduction in slot machine gambling. The increases can partly be explained as substitution of one type of gambling with another. New regulated online interactive games were introduced in 2014. Despite the relatively large growth of such games internationally, Norway included, increased online gambling in general and an increased marketing of foreign gambling websites, the participation on foreign websites seemed stable. However, the overall participation in online interactive games increased. The introduction of the regulated alternative seems to have had a channelizing effect. Overall, the changes in gambling participation coinciding with two major regulatory changes can be explained by transformations of physical and social availability, and in terms of mechanisms outlined by the model of total consumption.