Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 27–46 | Cite as

Gambling in Western and Eastern Europe: The Example of Hungary

  • Bernadette Kun
  • Hedvig Balázs
  • Petra Arnold
  • Borbála Paksi
  • Zsolt Demetrovics
Original Paper


The history of gambling in post-socialist countries is noticeably different from that of other countries in Europe. The goal of this study was therefore twofold: Firstly, to systematically review all European epidemiological studies related to excessive gambling in the general adult population, and secondly, to provide an overview of the state of gambling in Hungary based on the first ever nationwide representative survey, setting the results against the backdrop of the earlier European studies. A systematic review was carried out of European gambling studies which focus on a representative adult general population. Hungarian data was obtained from the National Survey on Addiction Problems in Hungary general adult population survey (N = 2,710). Pathological gambling was measured by the South Oaks Gambling Screen. Lifetime prevalence of excessive gambling (problem and pathological gambling) in the general adult population of European countries varies between 1.1% (Italy and Spain) and 6.5% (Estonia). In Hungary, the prevalence of problem gambling is 1.9%, with pathological gambling at 1.4%. The socio-demographic characteristics of the results are similar to those of other European countries. Using epidemiological data from the general adult populations of two post-socialist nations, it was possible to compare the results with data from 12 other European countries. Based on the data available, the extremely rapid liberation of the gambling market in the post-socialist countries has led to a similarly swift escalation in associated gambling problems.


Gambling Epidemiology Systematic review National representative survey Comparison 



This work was supported by Hungarian National Focal Point, the National Institute for Drug Prevention, and the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund. Zsolt Demetrovics acknowledges the financial support of the János Bolyai Research Fellowship from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernadette Kun
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hedvig Balázs
    • 1
  • Petra Arnold
    • 3
  • Borbála Paksi
    • 4
  • Zsolt Demetrovics
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Institutional Group on Addiction ResearchEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.National Institute for Drug PreventionBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Institute of SociologyEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Institute of Behavioral Sciences and Communication Theory, Centre for Behavioral ResearchCorvinus University of BudapestBudapestHungary
  5. 5.Institutional Group on Addiction ResearchEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

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