After the Ban of Slot Machines in Norway: A New Group of Treatment-Seeking Pathological Gamblers?
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Changes in demographical and clinical features of treatment-seeking pathological gamblers, and their gambling preferences before and after the ban of slot machines in Norway from 1 July 2007. Is there an emergence of a new group of gamblers seeking treatment after the ban? The participants were 99 patients, 16 women and 83 men, with the mean age of 35 years. All were referred to the Bergen Clinics Foundation, Norway, for treatment of gambling addiction in the period October 2006 to October 2009. A comprehensive assessment package was applied, focusing on demographical characteristics, the severity of pathological gambling, mental health and substance use disorder. After the ban the mean age was significantly lower, and significantly more were highly educated, in regular employment, and married. Internet gambling and a sport betting game called Odds were the most common options, and gambling problems had become more severe with greater depth due to gambling, bad conscious, heavy alcohol consumption, and more suicidal thoughts and attempts. After the ban of slot machines, the characteristics of treatment-seeking gamblers have been changed, and with great implications for treatment strategies.
KeywordsBan Treatment-seeking Pathological gamblers Features
We wish to acknowledge the clinicians Anne Mariken Gjernes, Arild Opheim, Espen Dahl, Helene Charlotte Sande and Morten Mitsem who were engaged in collection of data at the outpatient part of The Bergen Clinics Foundation, and Erik Iversen for reading through this manuscript.
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