The report, published Thursday by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet, FHI), shows that middle aged women account for more than half of the compulsive gamblers, with a total of 2 percent of the population currently addicted.
“There is a huge flood of new gamblers and this worries us,” said researcher Ulla Romild to the TT news agency, adding that some 100,000 more Swedes become addicted to gambling each year.
However, just as many Swedes shook their addiction in the same time frame, although Romild explains that their problems remain.
“They probably have some problems left over that can be linked to their compulsive gambling, for example economic problems, problems with social relations and health – especially physical health,” she said.
Researchers attribute the increase in gambling addiction among Swedish women to recent marketing efforts specifically directed toward women.
According to Romild, steps need to be taken to prevent a further increase.
“We think it’s important that people seriously consider the gambling issue, the entire gambling market should be regulated – I’m thinking especially of online gambling which is available to all of us. It has to be ensured that the gambling that can lead to problems should be regulated,” she said.
Women in the age range of 45-64 are the most likely to be addicted, with slot machines and online games being the most common choices. Heavy drinkers are also more likely to find themselves addicted.
But it is not only the women who have spend too much time gambling. 77 percent of men responded that they gamble “very often”, a figure which rose by 4 percent over the 2-year period of interviewing.
The institute’s research was based on 6,000 interviews performed between 2008 and 2010, with respondents surveyed twice each with one-year intervals.