Associations between national gambling policies and disordered gambling prevalence rates within Europe

Abstract

Policymakers and other interested stakeholders currently are seeking information about the comparative effectiveness of different regulatory approaches to minimising gambling-related harm. This study responds to this research gap by exploring associations between gambling policies and disordered gambling prevalence rates. We gathered information about gambling policies for thirty European jurisdictions and past-year prevalence rates for disordered gambling for twelve of these jurisdictions. We present policy trends and prevalence rates and then describe the level of association between policy and prevalence. We observe one statistically significant association between policy and prevalence: rates of sub-clinical (i.e., Level 2) disordered gambling were higher within environments that mandated less strict regulation of advertising for online gambling. Finally, we discuss the implications of our research in the context of the current process regarding the pan-European regulation of gambling. Our findings do not offer evidence for certain assumptions made in the past by the European judiciary.

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