Gambling addiction flourishes in Czech Republic amid unregulated online industry, Gov’t says.
- More than 100,000 addicts, with addiction presenting in people as young as 15 years old.
By BOHEMIST STAFF
PRAGUE – A boom in Internet gambling in the Czech Republic has resulted in an troubling increase in gambling addiction, now said to plague as much as 1.2% of the total population, according to a new study released this week by the government’s National Monitoring Center for Drugs and Addiction (NMCDA).
The report, which covers 2015 and the start of this year, states that the country now has between 50,000 and 110,000 pathological gamblers, many of whom have little recourse with an underdeveloped field of rehabilitation clinics available. The figures are high. Germany reports an estimated 0.29% – 0.69% of its population are addicted to gambling, the U.S. estimates 0.80% of its population are victims of the disease and Britain’s latest figures but its addicted population at 0.70%.
The addiction figures for the Czech Republic come in at more than 150% of the European average.
The NMCDA report also highlights that up to 5% of the total population, mostly men, are now at risk of developing a gambling problem. The figure include 2.7 percent of students in the 15-19 age range.
Among those addicts surveyed, the average number of days spent gambling in the last 30 days prior to seeking treatment was 11. Addicts self-reported spending an average of 19 hours a week fueling their habits.
What is worse, however, is the treatment available to addicts in the Czech Republic. According to the survey, there might be as little as only 20 clinics throughout the country, and only serving 3,000 people — which is potentially less than 3% of total addicts.
The advent of online gambling was a major contributor to the problems facing gambling addiction in the Czech Republic, though the report shows that the prevalence of video lottery terminals (VLT) still accounted for the highest end of the market share, at 42%, while the lottery accounted for over 14% of the market. Internet odds betting was just 14%.