Thursday August 4, 2011 : Problems among young men have doubled in the past decade.
General levels of problem gambling in Sweden have remained stable over the past decade, but a marked increase in the male 18 to 24-year-old demographic has prompted the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsöinstitutet – FHI) to issue a warning.
The results of the latest FHI study of problem gambling in the Scandinavian country, where the state holds a monopoly through Svenska Spel, show that despite the considerable expansion in gambling alternatives over the past ten years, the number of those suffering from gambling problems has remained stable, and has even declined among minors, the newspaper The Local.se reports.
However, there has been an alarming 100 percent rise in problems among young men aged 18-24, with 40,000 gamblers in this demographic reported to be suffering from gambling problems of varying severity.
"When we look at the evolution of different population groups, there are number of warning signs," said Marie Risbeck, FHI's coordinator gaming prevention, in a statement this week.
"Among men aged 18-24, the proportion of problem gamblers has doubled in ten years and today amounts to around 10 percent of the age group – around 450,000 people in Sweden."
Risbeck said that a total in excess of 260,000 Swedes, of which 75,000 are children, are impacted by gamblers with problems.
Sweden is well-served by organisations providing help and counseling for problem gamblers.
However, the FHI report calls for improvements in what is on offer to problem gamblers, and for better coordination across the country.