MMI Report, Critique and Response

In 2005, a new survey of gambling problems – funded by Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian state lottery company, and carried out by MMI Synovate – was completed in Norway.  The MMI study was a postal survey with a sample of 3,135 Norwegians aged 15 and over.  Problem gambling was assessed using the 9-item Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), a subset of the longer Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI).

In 2006, Drs. Rachel Volberg, Max Abbott and Ingrid Munck were asked by NLD to provide a technical analysis of the methodology and results of the MMI study.  The researchers agreed to accept this assignment because the MMI study was intended to serve as the basis for policy recommendations in Norway and – as a consequence – needed to be generalizable to the Norwegian population as a whole.  Based on a careful and comprehensive review, the researchers concluded that the MMI study contained such serious technical flaws that the results could not be generalized to the wider population. 

Despite these flaws, the MMI study received extensive media coverage in Norway and is frequently referred to by leading Norwegian politicians in support of the following arguments:

•    that Norway has “the most liberal and aggressive slot machine regime in the world;”
•    that there are now 200,000 problem gamblers in Norway (an increase of more than 600% in just three years); and
•    that 90% of gambling machine revenues in Norway come from problem gamblers.

Concern about the continued uncritical acceptance of the MMI study results led Drs.Volberg, Abbott and Munck and their colleague Dr. Sten Rönnberg to compose a letter to the editor of one of Norway’s major newspapers, Verdensgang (VG).  This letter was published on 16 July 2006.  Two weeks later, a scathing response by Hans Olav Fekjaer, a well-known Norwegian problem gambling advocate, was published in the same newspaper.  The international researchers prepared and submitted a response, hoping to rectify several inaccuracies in Fekjaer’s letter.  This letter was not published.

To allow interested readers to draw their own conclusions about the Norwegian situation, Gemini Research is posting the MMI report (in Norwegian and English) and the critique (in English only).  We have also posted the published and unpublished letters to the VG editor (in Norwegian and English). 

MMI Report

MMI Critique

VG Letters to the Editor