Problem gambling and gaming in elite athletes [open access article]

Håkansson, A., Kenttä, G. & Åkesdotter, C. (2018). Abrep. doi:10.1016/j.abrep.2018.08.003

Abstract
Background: High-level sports have been described as a risk situation for mental health problems and substance misuse. This, however, has been sparsely studied for problem gambling, and it is unknown whether problem gaming, corresponding to the tentative diagnosis of internet gaming disorder, may be overrepresented in athletes. This study aimed to study the prevalence and correlates of problem gambling and problem gaming in national team-level athletes.

Methods: A web-survey addressing national team-level athletes in university studies (survey participation 60%) was answered by 352 individuals (60% women, mean age 23.7), assessing mental health problems, including lifetime history of problem gambling (NODS-CLiP) and problem gaming (GASA).

Results: Lifetime prevalence of problem gambling was 7% (14% in males, 1% in females, p < 0.001), with no difference between team sports and other sports. Lifetime prevalence of problem gaming was 2% (4% in males and 1% in females, p = 0.06). Problem gambling and problem gaming were significantly associated (p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Moderately elevated rates of problem gambling were demonstrated, however with large gender differences, and interestingly, with comparable prevalence in team sports and in other sports. Problem gaming did not seem more common than in the general population, but an association between problem gambling and problem gaming was demonstrated. Access full article

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Gambling among European professional athletes. Prevalence and associated factors

Background: In Europe, the prevalence of gambling disorders in the general population ranges from 0.15% to 6.6%. Professional Athletes (PAs) are known for having risk factors for addictive behaviors, such as young age or sensation seeking, though no study has yet tried to evaluate the prevalence of gambling and gambling disorders among this specific population. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of gambling, problematic or not, amongst European PAs. To explore the factors that are associated with gambling practice and gambling problems in PAs. Methods: A self-completion questionnaire was specifically designed for this study. The questionnaires were distributed by European Union Athletes to professional ice hockey, rugby, handball, basketball, football, indoor football, volleyball and cricket teams in Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the UK. Socio-demographic variables (age, sex, education, marital and parental status, sport, country of birth, and country of practice), variables linked to gambling (gambling habits, screening of gambling problems with the Lie/Bet questionnaire and gambling related cognitions) and impulsive behavior data (UPPS-Short Form questionnaire) were gathered. Results: 1,236 questionnaires were filled out. The percentage of PAs that had gambled at least once during the previous year was 56.6%. The prevalence of problem gambling, current or past, was 8.2%. A certain number of variables were associated with the gambling status. In particular, betting on one’s own team (OR = 4.1, CI95% [1.5–11.5]), betting online (OR = 2.9, CI95% [1.6–5.4]), gambling regularly (OR = 4.0, CI95% [2.1–7.6]) and having a high positive urgency score (OR = 1.5, CI95% [1.3–1.7]) were associated with gambling problems, current or past, among PAs. Conclusion: PAs are particularly exposed to both gambling and problem gambling.