Europe Lacks In-Depth Problem Gambling Research

18th November 2009 9:04 am GMT

According to a new report on problem gambling in Europe, presented yesterday at the European Parliament, evidence suggests that the majority of European markets are lacking research into problem gambling, with only one third of countries undertaking national surveys on the subject.

The new report by Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, provides a country-by-country analysis of the known empirical evidence of gambling and problem gambling in Europe and highlights the gaps between Member States in carrying out gambling research, with countries separated into three different categories.

Countries that have carried out national surveys on gambling and/or problem gambling of varying representativeness, quality and empirical rigour include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Sweden and Switzerland.

Those that have carried out the same but at a regional and/or local level rather than a national level include Austria, France, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

There were also a number of countries where almost nothing is known empirically about gambling and/or problem gambling, such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland and Portugal.

According to the report, the majority of European markets are lacking in research into problem gambling of sufficient quality, consistency and breadth.

The report was presented yesterday in the European Parliament by MEP Malcolm Harbour, Chairman of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

"The debate about gambling is multi-faceted. Many reasons and interpretations are put forward as to why a particular State does or does not grant access to its market by operators from other Member States, be they online or offline, be they casino, betting or other type of gambling operator," said Adrian Morris, Deputy Managing Director of Stanleybet International, one of Europe's leading cross-border sports betting operators.

"I have become increasingly concerned that this debate is informed by little or no information and the argumentation seems to be based on myths appealing to emotion rather than facts informing reason and leading to policymaking. Unfortunately, to this day, it seems that emotion continues to overrule facts," said Morris.

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