Problem gambling in Europe: An overview

Abstract

AIMS: Provide a European country-by-country analysis of the known empirical (and in some cases anecdotal) evidence of gambling and problem gambling in that particular country. METHODS: Review of existing literature. FINDINGS: The highest gambling countries by Gross Gambling Revenues per year per person (amounts staked less money returned to players) are Ireland (€279), Finland (€239), Luxembourg (€194), Great Britain (€181), and Sweden (€176). Among adults, lotto is the most popular adult game in most European countries. Among adolescents, the trend seems to be that wherever commercial games (such as the lottery or slot machines) are widely available, adolescents increase their participation even though in most jurisdictions they may not be legally permitted to play these games. Problem gambling rates in Europe appear to be similar to rates found elsewhere (typically 0.5%-2%), although a few countries (e.g., Estonia, Finland, Switzerland) have reported problem gambling prevalence rates of above 3%. Results from studies in different European countries suggest that problem gambling among adolescents is considerably higher than among adults. Prevalence studies in Europe have tended to report that problem gamblers are most likely to be electronic gaming machine (EGM) players including Estonia, Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Other studies have also found similar results with adolescents reporting that the main type of problem gambling among adolescents is related to EGM play (e.g., Great Britain, Iceland and Lithuania).

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