Danish regulator Spillemyndigheden has revealed that its problem gambling helpline received 722 calls during its first full year of operation, more than initially expected.
Some 57% of people who called StopSpillet, which launched in January 2019, had acknowledged that they had a gambling problem or had concerns about their behaviour.
Relatives of people suffering with gambling problems were responsible for 39% of total calls, while the remaining 4% came from professionals. Men accounted for 87% of the calls made to StopSpillet.
“Compared to other types of addiction, compulsive gambling is not immediately visible and may be hidden for a long time to the outside world,” StopSpillet’s head of division, Linda Lomborg, said. “This emphasises the need for a helpline such as StopSpillet, offering confidential conversations about a problem that can be associated with a lot of guilt and shame.”
When players contact StopSpillet, they were also asked to take a compulsory test to rate the severity of their gambling problem. The scale ranges from zero to nine and a score of between four and nine indicates a degree of problem gambling.
According to Spillemyndigheden, the 240 consumers that took the test had an average score of 6.3, which the regulator said indicated that the service has been assisting players that needed the most help.
In terms of the type of gambling that consumers were concerned about, of the 690 people that passed on this information, 67% cited online gambling as their primary problem. In comparison, land-based gambling at casinos, betting kiosks and gaming machines were the main source of concern for 33% of these callers.
Players who contacted StopSpillet were also asked about the age at which they first started gambling, and based on the responses of 326 consumers, some 47% were under 18. A further 37% were aged between 18 and 25 when they gambled for the first time.
In December last year, Spillemyndigheden launched a new campaign to promote the StopSpillet programme and also announced plans to expand the initiative with the addition of a new chat feature on the website, allowing users to speak with an online advisor.