An Increasing Number of Europeans Suffer from Gambling Addiction
As the gambling industry’s profits are expected to boom in the coming years, an increasing number of Europeans are suffering from gambling addiction. The problem is expected to grow across the continent, and experts predict that the situation will worsen as the betting industry continues to thrive.
Chris, a UK resident, started gambling as soon as he turned 18. He signed up for all available gambling sites and took advantage of all the offers available to newbies. Initially, his gambling was responsible and controlled, but it quickly spiraled out of control. He started betting more money, using credit cards to support his gambling, and betting on all sorts of sports. Eventually, his gambling took over his whole life, and he became isolated from his family and friends and developed suicidal thoughts.
The Growing Problem
Chris’s case is not an isolated one in the UK or Europe, where gambling addiction is a growing issue. In the UK, 53% of people aged over 16 are estimated to have made a bet last year, and 430,000 people in the country are considered addicted to gambling. The most recent population survey from Germany states that about 1.3 million individuals have a gambling disorder, and another 3.25 million show some kind of risky gambling patterns. Other countries, like Sweden, have reported a surge in the number of women getting addicted to gambling.
The Future of the Industry
Europe’s sports betting industry is currently worth an estimated $44.5 million dollars (€41.5 million), and forecasters expect its value to reach $89.9 million (€83.9 million) by 2030. This growth is expected to be led by online gambling, which is a grey area from a legal perspective across the EU. There is no sector-specific EU-wide framework for gambling, which leaves individual member states free to decide on their own regulation of online gambling “as long as they comply with the fundamental freedoms established under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.”
Protecting People from Gambling Addiction
Chris’s parents eventually caught up on the fact that he had run up a lot of debts, and since then, he has started his way to recovery from gambling addiction. Chris has become an advocate for raising awareness about gambling addiction, sharing his experience on TikTok and through his website NoBet. He thinks that the gambling industry should be forced to warn customers of the dangers of gambling addiction as the tobacco industry warns of the risk of lung cancer posed by smoking. Belgium has gone even further, announcing in March that it will ban gambling ads on social media, TV, and sports stadiums.
Gambling addiction is a growing problem in Europe, and experts expect the situation to worsen as the betting industry continues to thrive. It’s up to national governments to impose bans on gambling ads and regulate the industry to protect people from gambling addiction. At the same time, there is a need for better funding of the help system, preventive activities, and independent research. To sum up: Individual companies must not be allowed to profit from gambling at the expense of society.