Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 417–433 | Cite as

Gambling Participation and Problem Gambling Severity among Rural and Peri-Urban Poor South African Adults in KwaZulu-Natal

  • Andrew Dellis
  • David Spurrett
  • Andre Hofmeyr
  • Carla Sharp
  • Don Ross
Original Paper


Poor South Africans are significantly poorer and have lower employment rates than the subjects of most published research on gambling prevalence and problem gambling. Some existing work suggests relationships between gambling activity (including severity of risk for problem gambling), income, employment status and casino proximity. The objective of the study reported here is to establish the prevalence of gambling, including at risk and pathological gambling, and the profile of gambling activities in two samples of poor South African adults living in a rural and a peri-urban community. A total of 300 (150 male, 150 female) adults in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in communities selected using census data, completed the Problem Gambling Severity Index and a survey of socioeconomic and household information, and of gambling knowledge and activity. It was found that gambling was common, and—except for lottery participation—mostly informal or unlicensed. Significant differences between rural and peri-urban populations were found. Peri-urban subjects were slightly less poor, and gambled more and on a different and wider range of activities. Problem and at risk gamblers were disproportionately represented among the more urbanised. Casino proximity appeared largely irrelevant to gambling activity.


Gambling Problem gambling Gambling participation South Africa Poverty Income Employment Casino proximity 



This research was funded by the South African Responsible Gambling Trust, through the National Responsible Gambling Programme of South Africa, Executive Director Peter Collins. We thank the following people who contributed background research in the development of the survey instrument: Graeme Barr, Peter Collins, Harold Kincaid, Jacques Rousseau and Rudy E. Vuchinich.


All procedures and measures were approved by the Ethics Review Board of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Participants gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Dellis
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Spurrett
    • 3
  • Andre Hofmeyr
    • 2
  • Carla Sharp
    • 4
  • Don Ross
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Brain and Behaviour Initiative (BBI), Department of Psychiatry and Mental HealthUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Research Unit in Behavioural Economics and Neuroeconomics (RUBEN), School of EconomicsUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.PhilosophyUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College CampusDurbanSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Center for Economic Analysis of RiskGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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