EGBA backs calls for unified problem gambling monitoring & reporting

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The European Gaming and Betting Association has backed the findings of a survey published by the City, University of London that calls for the creation of pan-European adult surveys on gambling-related matters.

The study, which reviewed the monitoring and reporting frameworks of 20 European countries as well as gambling engagement levels, concludes that a more common approach to problem gambling would help drive understanding of such harms in addition to its prevalence across Europe.

The EGBA commissioned study found that levels of problem gambling in European countries range from 0.3 per cent (Ireland in 2019/2020) to 6.4 per cent (Latvia in 2019) of the adult population.

However, it is noted that existing divergences in survey methodologies, screening tools, timings and target age ranges “make any meaningful comparisons between jurisdictions very difficult”. 

Reported gambling engagement for the period between 2015-2020 range from 32.9 per cent (Czech Republic in 2016, including lotteries) to 80 per cent (Finland in 2015, including lotteries). 

Further findings reported show that data about gambling engagement and problem gambling prevalence levels are collected through regular, systematic, and nationally sponsored surveys across just 12 jurisdictions.

The most frequent surveys are carried out in the UK (quarterly) and in Czech Republic (annually), while Denmark has the longest interval of 5 years.

Age ranges for participation can also vary, with the minimum at which to participate in the adult surveys are 15 years old in Czech Republic, Finland and Spain, 16 years old in the UK and 18 years old in France, Greece, Italy, and Malta. 

The maximum age for inclusion is 64 years old in Spain, 74 in Finland and 75 in France. There is no upper limit in Italy and Malta. 

Moreover, it is reported that Portugal, Slovakia, and Slovenia estimate gambling engagement and problem gambling prevalence levels through reference to the quantity of registered users and through the number of players on self-exclusion registers.

The recommendation of a pan-European survey is expected to drive more meaningful comparisons and assessments of gambling engagement and problem gambling trends across the region, as well as foster more common understandings and support more effective approaches to reduce harm.

“Our members are fully committed to promoting a stronger culture of safer gambling in Europe and through this study we aim to contribute positively to the understanding of problem gambling and its prevalence in Europe,” stated Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA. 

“The significant differences in the way in which problem gambling is monitored and reported in Europe clearly stands out from the study. 

“A shift towards a more common and regular monitoring and reporting framework for problem gambling would benefit all gambling sector stakeholders and support more effective and evidence-based prevention policies.”

Data for the study was obtained from the relevant gambling authorities in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom. Additionally, responses for France were received from the French national gambling association.

The pan-European study reviewed the monitoring and reporting frameworks of 20 European countries, covering the period 2015-2020, and assessed national approaches to problem gambling measurement and reporting methods, including relevant research studies and the screening tools used to measure problem gambling.