Two Faces of Italy’s Problem Gambling – No Solution in Sight

A new survey has considered the efficiency of Italy’s upcoming gambling advertisement ban which will enter into effect on January 1, 2019. At first blush, the proposed measures will do little to address any serious problem that stems from gambling.

A Gambling Law that Doesn’t Work

How do you tell the Italian far-right politicians to curb their enthusiasm? It tuns out, you cannot. But a fresh survey targeting a proposed ban on gambling advertisement in the country may just prove how wrong they are, not that this would make any difference.

According to a new survey, the professed goal of the anticipated ban that will enter on January 1, 2019 is unlikely to fulfil its goals, which is curbing problem gambling. The survey has cited firm evidence and concerns have been expressed that the number of problem gamblers would remain intact.

On Thursday, Italy’s Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) published a survey commissioned by the country’s gambling regulator, AAMS. The project had to examine gambling on a national level and identify the activity in all its aspects. In order to have a statistically relevant excerpt, the survey interviewed 12,000 people who were of the legal gambling age and have participated in gambling activities in the 12 months prior to the interview.

The results were quite revealing about the gambling landscape in the country. Estimated 18.4 million Italians gambled at one point in the past months, which accounted for nearly 37% of the entire population.

There have been clear cut differentiations in how the survey classified people. Around 13 million gambles were noted down as social, meaning they only played recreationally without taking unnecessary risks.

However, the numbers got slightly more alarming with the other types of gamers participating in the activity. And gambling addiction may be taking its toll in Italy.

Nearly 5 Million Problem Gamblers

While there have been 13 million gamblers who are on the safe side, the rest of the participants may experience problems. For instance, about 1.4 million are determined as moderate risks and 1.5 million are already problem gamblers. More starkly still, only 13,000 individuals have sought help from licensed professionals.

In other words, aiding problem gamblers in Italy has not really been a thing for a long while and the advertisement ban law will definitely not help anyone address the issue, as it will only take the problem away of the public eye.

Italy cannot be blamed for sporting the largest segment of people who participate in gambling, but even then, there is a lot to be concerned when the government is not addressing concerns much like it does in the United Kingdom, for example. Italy has also tried to tackle the gambling problem recently by addressing specific products.

While not entirely good news, the problem gamblers were not among the youngsters, and the most common age group was 50 to 62-year-olds. With this in mind, clamping down on advertisement may indeed shield an entire group of young adults from falling victim to a practice that is generally looked down upon, and perhaps for a good reason.

However, ISS has argued that the ban may not help problem gamblers in the slightest as reported 19% said that advertisement affected them whereas the majority stated that they just acted on their own without any external triggers.

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