Design and Methods of the New Zealand National Gambling Study, a Prospective Cohort Study of Gambling and Health: 2012–2019

By Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., Garrett, N., & Kolandai-Matchett, K.

Abstract: This paper describes the design, sampling, recruitment, and data analysis of the prospective, nationally representative New Zealand National Gambling Study. Particular aspects of the study were critical for its success as a longitudinal epidemiologic study, making its methodology beneficial for replication in other jurisdictions. At baseline (2012), 6251 adults were interviewed and followed-up in 2013, 2014, and 2015. An additional cohort of 106 moderate-risk/problem gamblers interviewed at baseline (2014–2015) and follow-up (2015–2016) increased the number of these groups in the study. Measures included gambling commencement, gambling frequency, gambling risk levels, at-risk and problem gambling development (incidence), comorbidity, problem gambling cessation, and relapse. Future stages include a follow-up assessment in 2019 and a qualitative study. The study design enables assessment of population and individual level changes and transitions over time, identification of risk and protective factors, and comparisons with previous similarly designed prospective studies. Methods for enhancing response rates and retention are discussed.

Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., Garrett, N., & Kolandai-Matchett, K. (2017). Design and Methods of the New Zealand National Gambling Study, a Prospective Cohort Study of Gambling and Health: 2012–2019. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 15(6), 1242–1269.



Gambling Participation, Expenditure and Risk of Harm in Australia, 1997–1998 and 2010–2011

By Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M.

Abstract: Gambling-related harm results primarily from financial losses. Internationally Australia continues to rank as the largest spending nation per capita on gambling products. This would suggest that Australian gamblers are at disproportionately high risk of harm despite almost two decades of industry scrutiny and regulation, and investment in research, treatment and education programs. However, declines in participation rates, per capita expenditure, household expenditure, national disposable income spent on gambling and problem gambling rates have been cited as evidence that fewer people are gambling, that gamblers are spending less, and that gambling safety in Australia has improved. The current study investigated these propositions using national population and accounts data, and statistics from Australia’s two population-representative gambling surveys conducted in 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Despite a falling participation rate the study found no real change in the number of people gambling overall, and increasing numbers consuming casino table games, race wagering and sports betting. Further found were increases rather than decreases in average gambler expenditure, overall, and across most products, particularly electronic gaming machines (EGMs). Potentially risky levels of average expenditure were observed in both periods, overall and for race wagering, casino table gaming, and EGMs. Changes in the proportion of income spent on gambling suggest risks declined overall and for race wagering and casino table gaming, but increased for EGMs. Finally, while problem gambling statistics were not comparable between periods, the study found double the number of moderate risk gamblers previously estimated for 2010–2011 amongst the 2 million Australians found to have experienced one or more gambling-related problems. The findings have implications for public health policy and resourcing, and the way in which prevalence and expenditure statistics have been interpreted by researchers, government and industry in Australia and elsewhere.

Armstrong, A. R., Thomas, A., & Abbott, M. (2017). Gambling Participation, Expenditure and Risk of Harm in Australia, 1997–1998 and 2010–2011. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–20.


Social Costs of Gambling in the Czech Republic 2012

Petr Winkler, Markéta Bejdová, Ladislav Csémy, Aneta Weissová

Evidence about social costs of gambling is scarce and the methodology for their calculation has been a subject to strong criticism. We aimed to estimate social costs of gambling in the Czech Republic 2012. This retrospective, prevalence based cost of illness study builds on the revised methodology of Australian Productivity Commission. Social costs of gambling were estimated by combining epidemiological and economic data. Prevalence data on negative consequences of gambling were taken from existing national epidemiological studies. Economic data were taken from various national and international sources. Consequences of problem and pathological gambling only were taken into account. In 2012, the social costs of gambling in the Czech Republic were estimated to range between 541,619 and 619,608 thousands EUR. While personal and family costs accounted for 63% of all social costs, direct medical costs were estimated to range from 0.25 to 0.28% of all social costs only. This is the first study which estimates social costs of gambling in any of the Central and East European countries. It builds upon the solid evidence about prevalence of gambling related problems in the Czech Republic and satisfactorily reliable economic data. However, there is a number of limitations stemming from assumptions that were made, which suggest that the methodology for the calculation of the social costs of gambling needs further development.

Winkler, P., Bejdová, M., Csémy, L., & Weissová, A. (2016). Social Costs of Gambling in the Czech Republic 2012. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–18.

Problem gambling worldwide: An update and systematic review of empirical research (2000–2015) (Full text)

Filipa Calado and Mark D. Griffiths

Background and aims: Problem gambling has been identified as an emergent public health issue, and there is a need to identify gambling trends and to regularly update worldwide gambling prevalence rates. This paper aims to review recent research on adult gambling and problem gambling (since 2000) and then, in the context of a growing liberalization of the gambling market in the European Union, intends to provide a more detailed analysis of adult gambling behavior across European countries.

Methods: A systematic literature search was carried out using academic databases, Internet, and governmental websites.

Results: Following this search and utilizing exclusion criteria, 69 studies on adult gambling prevalence were identified. These studies demonstrated that there are wide variations in past-year problem gambling rates across different countries in the world (0.12–5.8%) and in Europe (0.12–3.4%). However, it is difficult to directly compare studies due to different methodological procedures, instruments, cut-offs, and time frames. Despite the variability among instruments, some consistent results with regard to demographics were found.

Discussion and conclusion: The findings highlight the need for continuous monitoring of problem gambling prevalence rates in order to examine the influence of cultural context on gambling patterns, assess the effectiveness of policies on gambling-related harms, and establish priorities for future research.

Association of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with gambling disorder

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a frequent mental disorder with childhood onset and high persistence into adulthood. There is much evidence that ADHD increases the risk for the development of other psychiatric disorders and functional problems in several domains of everyday life. In this study, the association of ADHD with gambling disorder (GD) was investigated. 163 adult subjects suffering from GD were examined for childhood and current ADHD according to DSM-5 as well as co-morbid psychiatric disorders. Moreover, characteristics of gambling behavior have been evaluated. The prevalence of lifetime ADHD was 28.8 %, with 25.2 % of the study population presenting ADHD as a full syndrome according to DSM-5. The prevalence of co-morbid substance use disorders and adjustment disorders and cluster B personality disorders was higher in GD patients with current ADHD than in the group without. Also, an increased rate of suicide attempts was detected in gamblers with ADHD. In contrast with gamblers without ADHD, those with ADHD were reported to spend more time with gambling, a sedative effect of gambling and a faster development of GD. The high prevalence of ADHD in patients with GD indicates that childhood ADHD is a risk factor for the development of GD in later life. Moreover, treatment of patients with GD and ADHD is complicated by a high rate of co-morbid disorders. Regarding therapeutic approaches, it should be considered that functional aspects of gambling differ in GD patients with and without ADHD.

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.

An examination of internet and land-based gambling among adolescents in three Canadian provinces: results from the youth gambling survey (YGS) – Open Access


With the rapid proliferation of new gambling technology and online gambling opportunities, there is a concern that online gambling could have a significant impact on public health, particularly for adolescents. The aim of this study is to examine online and land-based gambling behaviour among adolescents in 3 Canadian provinces (Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan) prior to the implementation of legalized online gambling.


Data are from 10,035 students in grades 9 to 12 who responded to the 2012–2013 Youth Gambling Survey (YGS) supplement, a questionnaire administered as part of the Canadian Youth Smoking Survey (YSS, 2012) in 3 provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador (n = 2,588), Ontario (n = 3,892), and Saskatchewan (n = 3,555).


Overall, 41.6 % of adolescents (35.9 % of females and 47.4 % of males) had gambled in the past 3 months. 9.4 % of adolescents had gambled online in the past 3 months alone (3.7 % of females and 15.3 % of males). The most popular form of online gambling was online sports betting. Adolescents also engaged in online simulated gambling including internet poker (9.1 %) and simulated gambling on Facebook (9.0 %). Few adolescents participated in online gambling exclusively and online gamblers were more likely than land-based gamblers to engage in multiple forms of gambling. A higher proportion of adolescent online gamblers scored “high” or “low to moderate” in problem gambling severity compared to land-based only gamblers.


Despite restrictions on online gambling at the time of the study, adolescents were engaging in online gambling at a significantly higher rate than has been previously found. Adolescents were also using technology such as video games to gamble and free online gambling simulations.