Over 10 million adults have sought help for problem gambling

Peer reviewed: Yes
Method of research: Systematic review
Subject of study: People

A new systematic review published today by the scientific journal Addiction has found that, globally, around one in every 400 adults (0.23% of the current general adult population) has sought help for gambling problems, either during the past 12 months or at some point in their lifetime. This review is the first to estimate the global prevalence of help-seeking for gambling problems. It combined the results of 24 studies conducted internationally that asked members of the general public about seeking help for gambling problems.  

The worldwide prevalence of serious problem gambling is estimated at between 0.1 and 5.8%, so these findings reveal a considerable need for help among those experiencing problems related to gambling. Gambling is increasingly recognised as a major international public health concern and many countries now offer help for gambling problems, including professional treatment, non-professional help and self-help.  The challenge is to make sure this help reaches the people who seek it.  A public health approach to gambling problems should be grounded in strong evidence of what people currently do to reduce their gambling harm.   

In addition to establishing the global prevalence of help-seeking, the review also found that the prevalence of help-seeking was greater among people with higher gambling severity. Around 1 in 25 people with moderate-risk gambling and 1 in 5 people with problem gambling had sought help for problem gambling.  

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For editors:

This Open Access paper is available from the Wiley Online Library: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.15952 or by contacting Jean O’Reilly, Editorial Manager, Addiction, jean@addictionjournal.org.

To speak with co-author Dr. Simone Rodda, please contact her at the Auckland University of Technology by email simone.rodda@aut.ac.nz or telephone (+64 21359247).

Full citation for article: Bijker R, Booth N, Merkouris SS, Dowling NA, and Rodda SN (2022) Global prevalence of help-seeking for problem gambling: A systematic review and meta-analysis.  Addiction: doi: 10.1111/add.15952

Funding: None.

Declaration of interests:  The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare in relation to this article.  

Addiction is a monthly international scientific journal publishing peer-reviewed research reports on alcohol, substances, tobacco, and gambling as well as editorials and other debate pieces. Owned by the Society for the Study of Addiction, it has been in continuous publication since 1884.