Problem gambling associated with violent and criminal behaviour: A Danish population-based survey and register study

Abstract

This study compares the number of criminal charges among problem gamblers (N = 384) and non-problem gamblers including non-gamblers (N = 18,241) and examines whether problem gambling is more strongly associated with income-generating crimes like theft, fraud and forgery than other types of crimes such as violent crimes. A cohort study was carried out, based on data from the Danish Health and Morbidity Surveys in 2005 and 2010, which were linked at the individual level with data from The Danish National Criminal Register. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to determine the association between problem gambling and charges for different categories of crime. We found that problem gamblers had significantly higher odds of being charged than non-problem gamblers (adjusted odds ratio 1.5; 95 % confidence interval 1.1–1.9). The odds ratio for economic crime charges was 2.6 (1.5–4.5), for violence charges 2.2 (1.1–4.5), and for drug charges 3.7 (1.7–8.0). For road traffic charges the odds ratio was 1.3 (1.0–1.8). Hence, there was a strong association between problem gambling and being charged except for road traffic charges; however the association was not stronger for economic charges than for violence and drug charges.

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