Swiss Gambling Addiction Level Spike Sparks Concern

May 29, 2024
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The number of pathological and at-risk gamblers in Switzerland increased between 2017 and 2022, according to the country’s latest health survey.
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The number of pathological and at-risk gamblers in Switzerland increased between 2017 and 2022, according to the country’s latest health survey (ESS).

In 2022, an estimated 0.5 percent of the population was deemed to be addicted to gambling, compared with 0.3 percent in 2017.

Additionally, 3.8 percent of the population is estimated to display at-risk gambling behaviour, compared with 2.9 percent in 2017.

Groupement Romand d'Etudes des Addictions (GREA), a network that promotes effective action to deal with addiction problems, said: “At a time when the new Gambling Law (LJAr) is being evaluated, there is an urgent need to correct the situation.”

The LJAr came into force in 2019. Under the terms of the law, only land-based casino concessionaires can apply for a licence to offer online casino games. Online betting and online lotteries are subject to a state duopoly.

“Since this change in law, professionals in the field have observed and documented a number of problems: the increase and rejuvenation of people seeking help, the intensification of marketing for games, the rapid development of the digital offer, the difficulties in terms of early detection and protection of minors, etc. At the same time, the gross revenue from games has continued to increase, as have gaming bans,” GREA said.

GREA has called for several changes, including improving the early detection system for players at risk, as well as increasing the resources allocated to addiction prevention.

On April 25, 2022, the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) announced the evaluation of the Gambling Act, with the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) commissioned to lead it.

Results of the evaluation are not expected before the end of 2026.

The ESS has taken place every five years since 1992. Data for it is gathered via phone calls, a written questionnaire and a survey of households in Switzerland.

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