A new systematic review published today by the scientific journal Addiction has found that globally, around one in every 400 adults (0.23% of the current general adult population) has sought help for gambling problems, either during the past 12 months or at some point in their lifetime. This review is the first to estimate the global prevalence of help-seeking for gambling problems. It combines the results of 24 studies conducted internationally that asked members of the general public about seeking help for gambling problems.
The worldwide prevalence of serious problem gambling is estimated at between 0.1 and 5.8%, so these findings reveal a considerable need for help among those experiencing problems related to gambling. Gambling is increasingly recognized as a major international public health concern, and many countries now offer help for gambling problems, including professional treatment, non-professional help and self-help. The challenge is to make sure this help reaches the people who seek it. A public health approach to gambling problems should be grounded in strong evidence of what people currently do to reduce their gambling harm.
In addition to establishing the global prevalence of help-seeking, the review also found that the prevalence of help-seeking was greater among people with higher gambling severity. Around 1 in 25 people with moderate-risk gambling and 1 in 5 people with problem gambling had sought help for problem gambling.