Lottstift is seeking an operator to take over the 24-hour service from January 2024.
The helpline received 825 calls last year.
The Norwegian gambling regulator, Lotteri- og stiftelsestilsynet (Lotteritilsynet), is set to launch a tender for a national helpline that will provide support and guidance to problem gamblers. The tender will be launched in April 2023, with the new helpline expected to be operational from January 2024.
The new helpline is part of Lotteritilsynet’s efforts to combat problem gambling in Norway. The regulator has previously launched initiatives to reduce the harm caused by gambling, including introducing stricter regulations on gambling advertising and implementing a mandatory registration system for all online gambling accounts.
The national helpline will provide confidential and free support to problem gamblers and their families. It will also offer information on available treatment and support services.
In a statement, Lotteritilsynet Director-General Gunn Merete Paulsen said,
“We hope that the new helpline will contribute to reducing the negative consequences of gambling and help those who need it to find the help they need.”
The service is currently managed by Sykehuset Innlandet, the health trust for the provinces of Hedmark and Oppland, but it will halt its management at the end of the year.
Bjørn Leirdal, Lottstift’s acting director of communications and strategy, said the regulator was disappointed by Sykehuset Innlandet’s decision to stop managing the service but promised that the helpline service would not be interrupted.
“It is a shame that Sykehuset Innlandet will no longer operate the offer as they have built up solid expertise in gambling issues since 2003. … The helpline is a vital part of our efforts to uphold this mission and will remain open for all those affected by problem gambling issues.”
As part of the Norwegian government’s Action Plan for 2022-2025, there are plans to enhance and reinforce the national helpline, which had 825 calls in 2022. The helpline aims to assist the 55,000 Norwegians who have been identified as having gambling issues and the 122,000 who are deemed to be at risk.