Two-Thirds of Gambling Addicts in Sweden Are Women

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May 3, 2008
Research Shows That Close to Two-Thirds of Gambling Addicts in Sweden Are Women

Sweden has been investigating the gambling market for quite some time now, looking at different aspects in order to get the whole picture. After asking the population on their thoughts on gambling and gambling advertising, the Swedish authorities have decided to conduct a survey and check which demographics are most engaged in and affected by gambling and why.

The Folkhälsomyndigheten, which is the Swedish Public Health Authority, has released the survey results on the gambling habits in Sweden. The survey that was conducted in August 2018 questioned more than 5,000 participants on their engagement in gambling. The shocking results showed that close to two-thirds of gamblers in Sweden are women.

The Survey and the Results

The rate of gambling participation in Sweden may have remained unchanged in 2018, but the number of people who are addicted to gambling rose by close to 50%. That’s why the Public Health Authority conducted the survey to check who is most exposed to the risk of gambling addiction and why. The results of the survey that questioned over 5,000 Swedish citizens was released this week. The survey discovered that female online casino players outnumber male players.

In fact, the results showed that in 2018, 64% of gambling addicts were women. The most concerning thing was the rapid, shocking increase from 18% in 2015 to 64% in 2018. In just three years, the number of female gambling addicts skyrocketed.

Strangely enough, the research showed a significant decline in gamblers that were found at risk of gambling addiction. Approximately 225,000 players were found at risk in 2018, compared to the 322,000 in 2015. In a similar fashion, the actual number of problem gamblers declined from 134,000 in 2015 to 101,000 in 2018. However, the number of players who were deemed as pathological gamblers in 2015 was 31,000 while in 2018, that number rose to 45,000.

Ulla Romild, an investigator at Swedish Public Health Authority commented that although the proportion of problem gamblers has generally decreased, it is concerning that more and more people are having serious gambling problems and can be deemed as addicts. The gambling-related harms that affect those players also affect the players’ family, relatives, friends and related parties.

Experts mainly blame the internet for such an increase, in particular the number of women who gamble, saying that when the government opened the door for online gambling, the rates of problem gamblers grew, because people were having an easy access to online poker and slots, as well as to other online casino games, via phones and tablets. Gambling advertising is also a possible trigger for addictive behaviours, experts say.

In related news, the Spelinspektionen announced earlier this week that the number of Swedish players who signed up for the self-exclusion program has increased to 30,000. Even though that number also includes those players who simply don’t want to receive marketing pitches from regulated and licensed operators in Sweden, the number is still pretty serious.

The Problem with Gambling Advertising

Over the past few years, the Swedish were exposed to aggressive gambling advertising and marketing, which came into renewed criticism lately. Ardalan Shekarabi, which is the Minister for Public Administration in Sweden, stated that in addition to this survey on gambling engagement and participation, the government would take measures on putting an end to the aggressive gambling advertising.

Even though Sweden-licensed operators in the newly regulated market took voluntary measures to craft a responsible marketing code, the Minister for Public Administration dismissed it saying that it was an insufficient effort, reminding and warning them that the absolute advertising ban was still not off the table.

The thing is, in late January, the Swedish regulator has warned the operators to control their advertising or else, giving them the advice to moderate it before it's too late. Operators had a meeting with several consumer authorities and government departments on Tuesday with hopes to establish some common grounds over what is considered moderate advertising. Spelinspektionen said that the government has its own views of what moderate advertising is, but operators should figure out on their own how much is enough. If they cannot do that, there are courts that could fill in the blanks for them.

Now, the government is tightening the law against gambling games promotion and marketing. Shekarabi said on a national TV that people are too exposed to gambling ads and the government needs to limit that, saying that vulnerable groups must be protected. And if otherwise isn't enough, they would turn to completely prohibit gambling advertising.
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