Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 245–257 | Cite as

Prevalence of Adult Problem and Pathological Gambling between 2000 and 2005: An Update

  • Stephanie Stucki
  • Margret Rihs-MiddelEmail author
Original Paper



Excessive gambling is a prominent Public Health problem with high prevalence rates in many countries. Substance abuse and other co-morbidities often constitute a major health hazard for the person which gambles with a loss of material and social resources, as well as being a major concern for his or her significant others. The present study updates and extends prevalence data to include work published between 2000 and 2005 in English and other European languages.


In a three-step search and exclusion process, studies with current adult prevalence rates were gathered.


Almost all studies fulfil basic research standards. The weighted mean prevalence rates for excessive gambling (problem and pathological) are 3.0% for the South Oaks Gambling Survey (problem 1.2%; pathological 1.8%), 3.3% for the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (problem 2.4%; pathological 0.8%) and 3.1% for the DSM-IV (problem 1.9%; pathological 1.2%).


The prevalence rates are comparable and relatively stable between countries and across survey instruments, and do not differ from earlier reviews. The regular epidemiological monitoring of excessive gambling remains a major Public Health issue although the distinction between pathological and problem gambling is not appropriate for epidemiological research. Further studies are needed with respect to concomitant lifestyle characteristics.


Gambling Problem gambling Pathological gambling Excessive gambling Prevalence 



The present study has benefited from the support of many people and institutions. We wish to thank Jacques Besson, Laurence Aufrère, and Olivier Simon from the Centre for Excessive Gambling. Our gratitude is extended to Ronnie and Charles Blakeney, for their helpful comments and to all the others who contributed to this text for their valuable support. The authors received financial support for completing this study from the Department of Psychiatry of the University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre du Jeu Excessif (CJE)University HospitalLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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