The Swedish non-profit Gambling Addiction Group (GAG) has called upon the government and regulators to implement stricter regulations on the gambling industry after reports unearthed that increasing numbers of people are seeking help for gambling problems.
As revealed to SVT, increasing numbers of people are seeking help to get out of gambling addiction, according to City Outpatient Care in Luleå.
Isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty across Europe have been major factors in the rise in problem gambling.
“It is researched that anxiety and stress trigger this type of problem. Gambling, alcohol or drugs become ways to relieve anxiety and manage stress”, addiction therapist Pär Landfors told SVT.
One study from Lund University concluded that 6% of Swedes who identify as gamblers have increased their gambling habits and admit to being problem gamblers.
Speaking to the Swedish public service broadcaster, GAG Chairman Omar Rezvani explained: “We have been able to see this since the autumn of 2020. The isolation during the pandemic means that gambling is escalating. We have been able to see this in those who have had a relapse.
Rezvani also warned that TV advertisements for gambling companies are contributing to the increasing issues in Sweden.
“Regulation of TV commercials for games is very important. And that advertising for games has meant that people have started playing. Our members have told us about this,” he said.