A new study commissioned by the Brussels-based European Gamingand Betting Association (EGBA) established that several variations in how European nations report and supervise problem gambling made drawing meaningful comparisons a problem. The City, University of London conducted the ‘pan-European’ research involving 20 countries between 2015 and 2020.
Only 12 Out of 20 Countries Conducted Regular Surveys
The key findings of the EGBA report established that only twelve out of the twenty reviewed countries conducted national surveys to assess problem gambling regularly. The conclusions were compiled after studying different national approaches to measure problem gambling and reporting methods that included several research studies.
The report determined the extent of problem gambling amongst the adult population in European countries ranging from 0.3% to 6.4%. Gambling engagement in the reviewed countries varied from 32.9% to 80% of the population.
The study noted the absence of a common methodological framework in examining the issue amongst the reviewed countries. It also made significant observations about the various tools of measurement adopted by the 12 nations that conducted regular surveys to judge problem gambling trends. Most of these surveys took place quarterly. The pan-European study concluded that the lengthiest interval between two consecutive surveys was five years.
While seven out of twelve European countries employed population-based studies to measure the prevalence of problem gambling in their respective populations, three nations adopted health surveys as a method to calculate the extent of the issue among the adult population.
The key takeaway of this study showed that the need for a core foundation that helps monitor and report problem gambling has never been so crucial. Only this would help mitigate an issue that is still evidently prevalent. Thus, highlighting the importance of responsible gambling has never been so necessary.
PGSI the Most Common Screening Tool Among Countries
It was found that there was a lack of uniformity in utilizing screening tools in surveys since each country adhered to different methods and frameworks to record and monitor problem gambling.
Only four nations adopted more than one screening tool to assess the issue, while three other countries alluded to the number of self-excluded players to determine the levels of problem gambling. The study determined that the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) was the most common screening tool, and was used by nine countries.
There existed other variations in national surveys concerning target age groups. The minimum age to volunteer in an adult survey ranges from 15 to 18 years of age, and the maximum age ranged from 64 to 75 years. Several countries did not specify an upper age limit for a person who wished to participate in a survey.
Study to Inspire More Research in Problem Gambling
The EGBA study is a part of the Brussels-based trade association’s endeavors to encourage more research and inspire a deeper understanding of the problem gambling scenario in the European region. Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General of the EGBA, noted that the disparities in the methods adopted by European countries to examine the issue were a distinctive feature of the report. He also highlighted the report’s pan-European significance.
Haijer hoped that the study would inspire open dialogue among gambling industry stakeholders about adopting better practices and evidence-based prevention policies. In his view, a unified monitoring and regulatory framework would be instrumental in creating a safer gambling environment and reducing gambling-related harm.
Haijer Urges for a Common Reporting Framework
Emphasizing the need for a common monitoring framework to report problem gambling, Haijer reiterated the EGBA’s commitment to promoting safer gambling practices in the continent. According to him, the report’s findings would promote insight into the prevalence of problem gambling in Europe and suggest effective measures to tackle it.
The findings of the EGBA study will be presented in a webinar chaired by Dr. Margaret Carran of City, University of London on 10 May 2022. The presentation by Dr. Carran aims to highlight the similarities and points of difference between national approaches to reporting and measuring problem gambling via different screening tools and national survey methods.