Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 1193–1210 | Cite as

Problem Gambling in Greece: Prevalence and Risk Factors During the Financial Crisis

  • Marina EconomouEmail author
  • Kyriakos Souliotis
  • Melpomeni Malliori
  • Lily Evangelia Peppou
  • Konstantinos Kontoangelos
  • Helen Lazaratou
  • Dimitris Anagnostopoulos
  • Christina Golna
  • George Dimitriadis
  • George Papadimitriou
  • Charalampos Papageorgiou
Original Paper


In Greece no study has ever been conducted on the prevalence of problem gambling. Therefore, a cross-sectional survey was carried out amid the recession aiming to (1) estimate past year prevalence of problem gambling, (2) explore socio-economic and demographic differences among gamblers and non gamblers, (3) explore socio-economic and demographic differences among gamblers who started gambling prior and during the downturn and (4) identify its risk factors with a special interest in the influence of the recession. To this end, data emanating from a telephone and patron survey were combined. A random and representative sample of 3.404 people participated in the telephone survey and 2.400 in the patron survey. The interview schedule was the same in both studies. The presence of problem gambling was assessed with the Canadian Problem Gambling Index. Information on participants’ socio-economic and demographic characteristics as well as their ways of dealing financially with the crisis were collected. Findings indicated that 2.4% of respondents met criteria for problem gambling. Male gender, minority status, living with family of origin, low educational level and low to zero income were found to constitute the risk factors of the disorder. Moreover, having started gambling during the recession increased the odds of suffering from problem gambling; however this finding was gender-specific. Thus, people end up in problem gambling through various pathways, with these trajectories being different for men and women. Any intervention should address the complexity of the issue and be tailored by gender.


Behavioural addiction Gambling disorder Epidemiology Financial crisis Gender effect Mental health 



The funding was provided by OPAP.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Economou
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kyriakos Souliotis
    • 3
  • Melpomeni Malliori
    • 1
  • Lily Evangelia Peppou
    • 2
  • Konstantinos Kontoangelos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Helen Lazaratou
    • 4
  • Dimitris Anagnostopoulos
    • 5
  • Christina Golna
    • 6
  • George Dimitriadis
    • 1
  • George Papadimitriou
    • 1
  • Charalampos Papageorgiou
    • 1
  1. 1.First Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, Eginition HospitalNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Community Mental Health CentreUniversity Mental Health Research Institute (UMHRI)AthensGreece
  3. 3.Faculty of Social and Political SciencesUniversity of PeloponneseCorinthGreece
  4. 4.Child and Adolescent Unit, First Department of Psychiatry, Medical SchoolNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry, General Pediatric Hospital “Aghia Sophia”, Medical SchoolNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  6. 6.Innowth LtdLarnacaCyprus

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