Scientific literature indicates pathological gambling is increasing among adults over 50 years. In addition to traditional gambling, on line games lead the European gambling market with 6.8 million consumers and its revenues are expected to grow up to 13 billion in 2015. The aim of the present study is to systematically review the efficacy of the interventions against pathological gambling directed to people over 50.
Pubmed and Scopus scientific databases were used. Both observational and experimental studies written in English language, published from 1990 to 2014 and considering gamblers aged≥50 years were thus included.
Finally, from 237 articles retrieved, 15 studies matched our inclusion criteria. As results, four kinds of interventions were mainly observed: cognitive-behavioral therapy, pharmacological therapy, self exclusion and web-based counseling. The most effective intervention seems to be the cognitive-behavioral treatment, associated with pharmacological therapies only in worse pathological addictions (an efficacy of 70% after 16 weeks under treatment was reported on average).
The emerging issue of pathological gambling, especially among subjects over 50 years require several efforts and actions promoted by the governments involving casinos and online gambling providers also. Given the social responsibilities of this issue, the European public health agenda should consider this theme as a priority. Finally, considering the lack of information in the published literature, further studies are needed. Key messages Because the high spread of gambling in Europe, the presence of central social policies is increasingly necessary Further studies are urgently required to have more information on this issue.