How big of a problem is gambling?

The problem of gambling addiction is a significant issue that affects many individuals and communities worldwide While the prevalence of problem gambling varies by region and country, research suggests that it is a widespread issue that can have serious consequences for individuals and society as a whole.

Here are some statistics that highlight the scope of the problem:

  • According to a 2020 study by the World Health Organization (WHO), the global prevalence of problem gambling is estimated to be between 0.1% and 5.8% of the population.
    In the United States, an estimated 2 million adults meet the criteria for gambling addiction, and another 4-6 million are considered to have a less severe form of gambling disorder.
    In Australia, gambling is the leading cause of addiction-related hospital admissions and accounts for a significant proportion of suicides.
    In the United Kingdom, an estimated 340,000 people are thought to have a gambling problem, and gambling addiction is estimated to cost the economy billions of pounds each year.
    •    The same study found that the prevalence of problem gambling in the European Union ranges from 0.4% to 3.2%, with an average rate of 1.6%. This translates to an estimated 6.8 million adults in the European Union who have experienced some form of problem gambling in the past year.
    •    The United Kingdom has one of the highest rates of problem gambling in Europe, with an estimated 340,000 people experiencing some form of problem gambling. However, other countries such as Norway, Finland, and Sweden also have high rates of problem gambling.
    •    The European Union has taken steps to regulate the gambling industry and promote responsible gambling practices. This includes the adoption of the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which requires gambling operators to implement measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, and the establishment of the European Gaming and Betting Association, which promotes responsible and sustainable gambling practices.

Overall, gambling addiction is a serious problem that can lead to financial, social, and emotional problems for individuals and their families. It’s important for governments and communities to take steps to prevent and address gambling addiction, including regulating the gambling industry, providing resources for individuals with gambling problems, and promoting responsible gambling practices. 

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