Skip to main content

Gambling in Western and Eastern Europe: The Example of Hungary

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  • Abbott, M. W., Volberg, R. A., & Rönnberg, S. (2004). Comparing the New Zealand and Swedish national surveys of gambling and problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20(3), 237–258.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Aho, P., & Turja, T. (2007). Suomalaisten rahapelaamnien 2007 [The gambling of the Finns 2007]. Taloustutkimus Oy.

  • American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (revised 3 ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Arbinaga, F. (2000a). Consumo de drogas y juego patológico en Punta Umbría (Huelva) [Drug consumption and pathological gambling in Punta Umbría (Huelva)]. Revista Española de Drogodependencias, 25(3), 301–320.

    Google Scholar 

  • Arbinaga, F. (2000b). Características sociodemográficas, consumo de drogas, depresión y juego patológico en un grupo de mujeres de Punta Umbría (Huelva): Un estudio descriptivo [Socio-demographic characteristics, drug use, depression and pathological gambling among women of Punta Umbría (Huelva)]. Anales de Psicología, 16(2), 123–132.

    Google Scholar 

  • Arbinaga, F. (2001). La Mujer con Problemas en los Juegos de Apuestas: una Aproximación desde los Estudios Epidemiológicos Realizados en Nuestro País y el Análisis de Nuevos Datos Sobre un Grupo de Mujeres en Punta Umbría (Huelva) [Women with gambling problems: Estimation based on epidemiological studies realized in Spain and the analysis of new data on a group of women in Punta Umbría (Huelva)]. Psicologemas, 15(29), 133–152.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bakken, I. J., Götestam, K. G., Gråwe, R. W., Wenzel, H. G., & Øren, A. (2009). Gambling behavior and gambling problems in Norway 2007. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 50(4), 333–339.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ólason D. T., Barudottir, S. K., & Gretarsson, S. J. (2005). Prevalence of pathological gambling among adults in Iceland. Paper presented at the 6th conference on research in Social Sciences, Reykjavík, Iceland.

  • Beaudoin, C. M., & Cox, B. J. (1999). Characteristics of problem gambling in a Canadian context: A preliminary study using a DSM-IV based questionnaire. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 44(5), 483–487.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Becoña, E. (1993). The prevalence of pathological gambling in Galicia (Spain). Journal of Gambling Studies, 9(4), 353–369.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Becoña, E. (1996). Prevalence surveys of problem and pathological gambling in Europe: The cases of Germany, Holland and Spain. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12(2), 179–192.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Becoña, E. (1997). Pathological gambling in Spanish children and adolescents: An emerging problem. Psychological Reports, 81(1), 275–287.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Becoña, E. (2004). Prevalencia del juego patológico en Galicia mediante el NODS. ¿Descenso de la prevalencia o mejor evaluación del trastorno? [Prevalence of pathological gambling in Galicia assessed by NODS. Decrease in prevalence or better estimation of the disorder?]. Adicciones, 16(3), 173–184.

    Google Scholar 

  • Becoña, E. (2009). Spain. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 281–298). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Becoña, E., Del Carmen Lorenzo, M., & Fuentes, M. J. (1996). Pathological gambling and depression. Psychological Reports, 78(2), 635–640.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Becoña, E., & Fuentes, M. J. (1995). El juego patológico en Galicia evaluado con el South Oaks Gambling Screen [Pathological gambling measured by the South Oaks Gambling Screen]. Adicciones, 7, 423–440.

    Google Scholar 

  • Biganzoli, A., Capelli, M., Capitanucci, D., Smaniotto, R., & Alippi, M. (2004). Indagine sui comportamenti di Gioco d’Azzardo in provincia di Pavia [Survey of gambling behavior in the Pavia Province]. Gavirate: Dream.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bondolfi, G., Jermann, F., Ferrero, F., Zullino, D., & Osiek, C. H. (2008). Prevalence of pathological gambling in Switzerland after the opening of casinos and the introduction of new preventive legislation. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 117(3), 236–239.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Bondolfi, G., Osiek, C., & Ferrero, F. (2000). Prevalence estimates of pathological gambling in Switzerland. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 101(6), 473–475.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Bondolfi, G., Osiek, C., & Ferrero, F. (2002). Pathological gambling: an increasing and underestimated disorder. Schweizer Archiv für Neurologie und Psychiatrie, 153(3), 116–122.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bonke, J., & Borregaard, K. (2006). Ludomani i Danmark: Udbredelsen af pengespil og problemspillere [Pathological gambling in Denmark: Prevalence of gambling and pathological gamblers]. Copenhagen: Socialforskningsinstituttet.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bonke, J., & Borregaard, K. (2009). The prevalence of problematic gambling behaviour: A Scandinavian comparison. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 37(6), 654–660.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Brodbeck, J., Dürrenberger, S., & Znoj, H. (2007). Grundlagenstudie Spielsucht: Prävalenzen, Nutzung der Glücksspielangebote und deren Einfluss auf die Diagnose des Pathologischen Spielens [Baseline study: Prevalences and consumption of games of chance and their influence on the diagnosis of pathological gambling]. Bern: University of Bern.

  • Bühringer, G., Kraus, L., Sonntag, D., Pfeiffer-Gerschel, T., & Steiner, S. (2007). Pathologisches Glücksspiel in Deutschland: Spiel und Bevölkerungsrisiken [Pathological gambling in Germany: game and population risks]. Sucht, 53(5), 296–308.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (BZgA). (2008). Glücksspielverhalten und problematisches Glücksspielen in Deutschland 2007 [Gambling behavior and problematic gambling in Germany]. Köln: BZgA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Buth, S., & Stöver, H. (2008). Glücksspielteilnahme und Glücksspielprobleme in Deutschland: Ergebnisse einer bundesweiten Repräsentativerhebung [Gambling and gambling problems in Germany: Results of a national survey]. Suchttherapie, 9(1), 3–11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cayuela, R. (1990). Characteristics and situation of gambling addiction in Spain. Epidemiological and clinical aspects. Paper presented at the eighth international conference on risk and gambling, London, UK.

  • Cox, B. C., Enns, M. W., & Michaud, V. (2004). Comparisons between the South Oaks Gambling Screen and a DSM-IV—based interview in a community survey of problem gambling. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 49(4), 258–264.

    Google Scholar 

  • Croce, M., Lavanco, G., Varveri, L., & Fiasco, M. (2009). Italy. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 153–171). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • De Bruin, D. E., Meijerman, C. J. M., Leenders, F. R. J., & Braam, R. V. (2006). Verslingerd aar meen dan een spel: Een onderzoek naar de aard en omvang van kansspelproblematiek in Nederland [Wired to more than one game: A study on the nature and extent of problem gambling in The Netherlands]. Den Haag: Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Justice, Commissioned by the Ministry of Justice.

    Google Scholar 

  • Demetrovics, Z. (2001). Cultural changes and the changing face of youth subculture and drug use. Some comparisons between Western and Eastern Europe. In M. Nechifor & P. Boisteanu (Eds.), Pharmacodependences—mechanisms, clinical aspects, treatment (pp. 109–117). Iasi: Editura Glissando.

    Google Scholar 

  • Demetrovics, Z. (2009). Hungary. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 123–136). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Druine, C. (2009). Belgium. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 3–16). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Druine, C., Delmarcelle, C., Dubois, M., Joris, L., & Somers, W. (2006). Etude quantitative des habitudes de Jeux de hazard pour l’offere classique et en ligne en Beldique [Quantitative study on online and offline gambling behavior in Belgium]. Bruxelles: Foundation Rodin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Faktum Uuringukeskus. (2004). Elanike kokkupuuted hasart- ja õnnemängudega [Gambling prevalence in Estonia]. Tallinn: Faktum Uuringukeskus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferris, J., & Wynne, H. (2001). The Canadian problem gambling index: Final report. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCCSA).

  • Gerstein, D., Hoffmann, J., Larison, C., Engelman, L., Murphy, S., & Palmer, A. (1999). Gambling impact and behavior study. Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. Chicago, USA: National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

    Google Scholar 

  • Götestam, K. G., & Johansson, A. (2003). Characteristics of gambling and problematic gambling in the Norwegian context: A DSM-IV-based telephone interview study. Addictive Behaviors, 28(1), 189–197.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Götestam, K. G., & Johansson, A. (2009). Norway. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 209–218). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Götestam, K. G., Johansson, A., Wenzel, H. G., & Simonsen, I. E. (2004). Validation of the lie/bet screen for pathological gambling on two normal population data sets. Psychological Reports, 95(3 Pt 1), 1009–1013.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Goudriaan, A. E., de Bruin, D., & Koeter, M. W. J. (2009). The Netherlands. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 189–207). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Griffiths, M. (2009). Great Britain. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 103–121). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Griffiths, M., Wardle, H., Orford, J., Sproston, K., & Erens, B. (2009). Sociodemographic correlates of internet gambling: Findings from the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(2), 199–202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Häfeli, J. (2009). Switzerland. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 317–326). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Ilkas, H., & Turja, T. (2003). Penningsspelsundersökning [Gambling research]. Helsinki: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

    Google Scholar 

  • Irurita, I. M. (1996). Estudio sobre la prevalencia de los jugadores de azar en Andalucía [Study on prevalence of gamblers in Andalusia]. Sevilla: Federación Andaluza de Jugadores de Azar en Rehabilitación.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jaakkola, T. (2009). Finland. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 53–70). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Jonsson, J. (2006). An overview of prevalence surveys of problem and pathological gambling in the Nordic countries. Journal of Gambling Issues, 18, 31–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jonsson, J., & Rönnberg, S. (2009). Sweden. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 299–315). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Kühlhorn, E., Ahrens, U.-B., Berg, C., Björ, J., Helenius, K., Leifman, H., et al. (1995). Spelandet i Sverige [Gambling in Sweden]. Brå-rapport, 95, 1.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kuntsche, E., Kuntsche, S., Knibbe, R., Simons-Morton, B., Farhat, T., Hublet, A., et al. (in press). Cultural and gender convergence in adolescent drunkenness: Evidence from 23 European and North American countries. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

  • Laanso, S. (2006). Patoloogiline hasartmängimine: ulatus Eestis ning seosed käitumuslike ja isiksuslike riskifaktoritega [Pathological gambling in Estonia and the relationship with behavioural and personal risk factors]. Eesti: Tallina Ülikool.

    Google Scholar 

  • Laanso, S., & Niit, T. (2009). Estonia. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 37–52). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Legarda, J. J., Babio, R., & Abreu, J. M. (1992). Prevalence estimates of pathological gambling in Seville (Spain). British Journal of Addiction, 87(5), 767–770.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lesieur, H. R., & Blume, S. B. (1987). The South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS): A new instrument for the identification of pathological gamblers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144(9), 1184–1188.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lesieur, H. R., & Blume, S. B. (1993). Revising the South Oaks Gambling Screen in different settings. Journal of Gambling Studies, 9(3), 213–223.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Linnet, J. (2009). Denmark. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 17–35). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Lund, I. (2006). Gambling and problem gambling in Norway: What part does the gambling machine play? Addiction Research and Theory, 14(5), 475–491.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, G., & Hayer, T. (2009). Germany. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 85–101). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, G., Hayer, T., & Griffiths, M. (Eds.). (2009). Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention. New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Olason, D. T., & Gretarsson, S. J. (2009). Iceland. In G. Meyer, T. Hayer, & M. Griffiths (Eds.), Problem gambling in Europe. Challenges, prevention, and intervention (pp. 137–151). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Paksi, B., Rózsa, S., Kun, B., Arnold, P., & Demetrovics, Z. (2009). A magyar népesség addiktológiai problémái: az Országos Lakossági Adatfelvétel az Addiktológiai Problémákról (OLAAP) reprezentatív felmérés módszertana és a minta leíró jellemzői. [Addictive behaviors in Hungary: The methodology and sample description of the national survey on addiction problems in Hungary (NSAPH)]. Mentálhigiéné és Pszichoszomatika, 10(4), 273–300.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Spéder, Z. (2002). A szegénység Magyarországon—az arányosított deprivációs index koncepciója alapján [Poverty in Hungary—based on the concept of the proportioned deprivation index]. Szociológiai Szemle, 12(4), 171–189.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sproston, K., Erens, B., & Orford, J. (2000). Gambling behaviour in Britain: Results from the British Gambling Prevalence Survey. London: National Centre for Social Research.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stinchfield, R. (2003). Reliability, validity and classification accuracy of a measure of DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(1), 180–182.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stucki, S., & Rihs-Middel, M. (2007). Prevalence of adult problem and pathological gambling between 2000 and 2005: An update. Journal of Gambling Studies, 23(3), 245–257.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tejeiro, R. (1998). El juego de azar en Algeciras (España): prevalencia y características sociodemográficas [Gambling in Algeciras (Spain): Prevalence and Sociodemographic characteristics]. Revista Española de Drogodependencias, 23(1), 53–74.

    Google Scholar 

  • Townsend, P. (1979). Poverty in the United Kingdom. A Survey of Household Resources and Standard of Living. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vogel, R. J., & Ardoin, P. (2002). Gambling in Louisiana. 2002 Louisiana study of problem gambling. Office for Addictive Disorders. Available from, URL: http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/publications/pubs-23/Gambling%20in%20Louisiana%203.pdf.

  • Volberg, R. A. (2001). Changes in gambling and problem gambling in Oregon: Results from a replication study, 1997 to 2000. Northampton, MA: Gemini Research Inc. Available from, URL: http://www.gamblingaddiction.org/oregonreport/OR%20Report%202000%20(final).pdf.

  • Volberg, R. A. (2002). Gambling and problem gambling in Nevada. Report to the Nevada Department of Human Resources. Gemini Research. Available from, URL: http://dhhs.nv.gov/PDFs/NV_Adult_Report_final.pdf.

  • Volberg, R. A., Abbott, M. W., Rönnberg, S., & Munck, I. M. E. (2001). Prevalence and risks of pathological gambling in Sweden. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 104(4), 250–256.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wardle, H., Sproston, K., Orford, J., Erens, B., Griffiths, M. D., Constantine, R., et al. (2007). The British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007. London: National Centre for Social Research.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Zsolt Demetrovics.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kun, B., Balázs, H., Arnold, P. et al. Gambling in Western and Eastern Europe: The Example of Hungary. J Gambl Stud 28, 27–46 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-011-9242-4

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-011-9242-4

Keywords