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Study warns of “significant differences” in problem gambling measurement

| By Marese O'Hagan
A new study has found “significant differences” in how different European countries monitor and flag instances of problem gambling.

The study, which was commissioned by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and conducted by Dr Margaret Carran of City University of London, obtained data from 19 European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

It was carried out between March 2021 and February 2022.

National authorities for each country were asked to complete two surveys, regarding regulation and gambling engagement monitoring.

The study found that 12 countries in Europe have routine nationwide surveys on problem gambling, while four countries have national surveys that are not released regularly.

The United Kingdom has the highest frequency of surveys, occurring quarterly, with the latest edition released yesterday.

Surveys are distributed in a number of different methods, with target populations varying. Surveys based on gambling prevalence or attitudes towards gambling are used in seven of the 12 countries, whereas two countries – the Czech Republic and Spain – ask questions about gambling in their health and lifestyle surveys.

The populations surveyed also varies, with countries differing on the definition of an adult. Greece and Malta surveys those aged 18 or over, while the UK targets over 16s.

The study notes that it is difficult to appropriately compare problem gambling rates as there is no shared screening tool used by all countries in their national surveys.

However, eight of the countries use one or both definitions of problem gambling provided by the World Health Organisation or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The study concluded that the European countries use “highly diverse” methods to evaluate problem gambling in their respective populations, with the only commonality being a commitment to address problem gambling behaviour.

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