Sweden’s non-profit organisation 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.
According to City Outpatient Care in Luleå, there is an increase in the number of people seeking help to get out of gambling addiction.
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 said.
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.
“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,” GAG Chairman Omid Rezvani said.
Rezvani also warned that TV ads 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.