Industry Reports

Pathological Gambling Affects 6% of All Gamblers in Cyprus

Seventy-five per cent of the people in Cyprus aged 15 and over gamble while six per cent of them is said to be pathological gamblers, a new study says. On average, Cypriots start playing games of chance at the staggering age of 12.5.

The study, released Monday by the National Betting Authority, looks at the gambling habits of adults and adolescents over the age of 15 in Cyprus. This is the first research of its kind to be conducted in the country. Its purpose is to examine gamblers’ behaviour and determine the prevalence of problem gambling. Researchers also aimed at determining the popularity of different games of chance within the country. The research was conducted from November 2017 through January 2018 and included 3,000 people aged 15 years-old and older.

The results of the study, carried out by Insights Market Research Cyprus (IMR Cyprus) and the University of Nicosia, were announced at a press conference of the Ministry of Finance this Monday. According to them, 75 per cent of all people aged 15 and over, or approximately 399,750 individuals, take part in one or more forms of gambling at some point in their lives. And 13 per cent of those show signs of gambling addiction or other problem gambling behaviour.

Researchers point out that 6 per cent of all people in the country who play the lottery, bet on sporting events on other types of games, are pathological gamblers. At the same time, respondents admit that they start playing games of chance at the age of 12.5 on average, with 31 per cent saying they first partook in a gambling activity with their father. Another 22 per cent of the people gambled for the first time with a friend and 19 per cent – with their mother. Some were with a sibling when they gambled for the first time (12%), others were with their grandfather (5%), and 3 per cent were with another relative.

The Role of Family in Gambling Behaviours

The study gives an interesting insight into the gambling tradition in Cyprus, revealing that young men form their behaviours following the role model of their fathers and other male relatives. The results show that fathers and families as a whole should take more responsibility when it comes to fostering healthy attitudes towards gambling, medical sociologist and University of Nicosia professor Constantinos Phellas points out.

Experts agree that problem gambling prevention should start from the families and that limitations should be placed on every form of betting or gambling. Moreover, the findings of the study may be used by legislators and authorities to formulate recommendations for a new legal framework that would be more effective and would deal with current issues that did not exist two decades ago.