Which Are the Countries With the Highest Gambling Addiction Rate
Gambling calls up associations with the sumptuously rich floors of Las Vegas casinos where fortunes change hands within the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, there is an equally strong association between gambling and addiction, an increasing problem in this age of technological progress.
Whether it is bungee jumping, skydiving, or waiting with bated breath for the next winning number at the roulette table, we humans are incorrigible thrill-seekers. Similarly to extreme sports, gambling is an adrenaline-inducing activity that triggers our brains’ reward center.
Repeated exposure may sometimes lead to long-lasting changes in the brain and gambling addiction. According to a report prepared by the BBC, problem gambling is an affliction that affects roughly 1% of the UK population, or 9 out of every 1,000 nationals.
Various factors contribute to the risk of developing a gambling problem – a history of addictions within the family, high exposure to stress, and even some mental disorders like unipolar depression. Many people assume the USA leads in terms of gambling addiction but it turns out some countries have it much worse.
Problem Gambling Is Rampant Down Under
Australia tops the list of countries with the highest problem gambling rates, according to this report prepared by supercasinosites.com. In 2017, the country reported gambling losses of $958 per head of the population, topping the list of the nations with the largest gambling losses in the world.
What is more interesting, most of the gambling Down Under does not take place in casinos. Aussies share a love for slot machines, or pokies as they call them down there. These machines are not confined to the casino floors, though. They are everywhere in the country, from hotel lobbies to pubs and clubs.
Aussies suffered cumulative losses of $23 billion in 2016 alone, pouring $14 billion of this amount into the highly addictive pokies. The problem partially stems from the broad availability of these machines.
Statistics indicate the country is home to roughly 18% of all slots on the planet with 200,000 machines. To put things into context, this means there is one slot per every 123 Aussie nationals. It may be difficult to believe but Australian clubs and pubs house roughly 76% of all non-gaming venue slots in the world.
What is worse, Aussie adults are not the only ones to gamble. The mental health service ReachOut reports that approximately 80% of local adolescents have participated at least once in such activities. Each high school class has one student on average to experience gambling-related problems.
Singapore Sees Gambling Increase among the Elderly Population
Singapore is home to a young gambling industry – its first casino opened doors to customers in 2010. But this did not prevent the country from becoming one of the largest gambling hubs, attracting millions of tourists from around the globe.
In ten short years, Singapore became the second-biggest gambling country in the world. The Singaporean authorities have taken various measures to keep gambling participation rates in check. Despite this, over half of the country’s permanent adult residents (52%) admitted they had participated in various forms of gambling back in 2017.
This makes for an 8% increase compared to the rates in 2014 when only 44% of the Singaporeans partook in such activities. The average losses local gamblers incurred in 2017 stood at $725 per adult. According to members of Singapore’s National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the increase is mainly due to more locals gambling socially (21%) or playing the Toto (36%) and 4D (42%).
Also disconcerting is the fact gambling has started to spread among the elderly population in recent years. The Journal of Gerontology explains these tendencies with retired individuals having more free time and fewer opportunities to socialize. Getting help if you have gambling problems is possible on the NCPG website. It offers free helplines, e-chats, and tools for self-exclusion.
Irish Gamblers Spent €10 Billion in 2019
Gambling has been part of the Irish culture for centuries despite the fact there are only private casino clubs on the Emerald Isle. The country’s residents have gambled an estimated $433 per head of population in 2017. Data released by the Irish Health Research Board reveals roughly 0.8% of the Irish population classified as problem gamblers in 2019, or around 40,000 citizens.
The figures contrast with the higher percentage in Northern Ireland, which stood at 2.3% according to a 2019 study. Irish gamblers collectively staked nearly €10 billion on popular gambling forms like sports wagering, casino games, scratch cards, and lotteries. Irish residents from certain groups are at greater risk of developing a problem.
Gambling addiction is more prevalent among adult males aged 25 to 34. Individuals from this age group are also more likely to participate in online or mobile gambling. By contrast, the elderly members of society aged 55 to 64 are more likely to gamble but without developing a problem, according to the Irish Department of Health.
The Irish Government has approved several amendments to the outdated legislation to curb problem gambling in the country. The maximum payout on gambling machines must not exceed €500, with maximum stakes of no more than €5 per round.
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