18 November 2004
BRUSSELS – A gambling epidemic is taking hold in Belgium, according to a new survey released on Thursday.
The survey was carried out by the Fondation Rodin in the country’s casinos, Lotto centres, games halls, cafes with bingo games and betting shops.
The aim of the report was to gather information in order to tackle the growing problem of addiction in Belgium.
Questions were asked of 860 small and big gamblers, with the interviews lasting between 45 minutes and one hour 15.
The study found that men gamble the most often and with the most money, spending on average EUR 420 compared to women’s EUR 156.
Men also start younger, on average at 22, compared to women at 28.
Single people represent the largest group of people with gambling problems, 34.7 percent, while married people are more likely to be either bordering on an addiction or can gamble safely.
A quarter of gambling addicts say their parents had a gambling problems.
Gambling addicts spend on average EUR 928 every month, compared with EUR 144 spent by casual gamblers, meaning that addicts make up 42 percent of the total gambling budget.
Around 14 percent of gamblers report sleeping problems, while 24.7 percent of addicts suffer from depression, with 15 percent admitting to have attempted suicide.
Among casual gamblers and gamblers at risk, 11 and 13 percent respectively admit to having an alcohol problem.
This rises to 20 percent for addicts.
The figures are 38.6 percent, 53.6 percent and 71 percent respectively when it comes to smoking addictions.
Despite the obvious problems of a gambling addiction, 21 percent of addicts say they have not thought of stopping.
Of those who have, only 35 percent have sought help, while 65 percent do know where to find it.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news