Women's game victims in Sweden outnumber men for the first time



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Numbers of players are falling in Sweden – but there are more women among those who do

For the first time, most Swedes with gambling addiction are women, the latest survey numbers suggest.

The report found that there was no longer a gender gap among problem gamblers, half of whom were women.

And among the 45,000 people with a problem severe enough to be considered a gambling addiction, 64% were women.

This represents an increase of only 18% in 2015 – with the widespread increase attributed to the increase in online gambling.

The survey of 5,000 people found that the total number of problem players has dropped since the last analysis published in 2015.

But at the same time, there was a 50% increase in problem players – the category in which the gender difference has disappeared.

The number of women with gambling problems has increased over the past 10 years, according to the public health agency.

Ulla Romild, the researcher responsible for the report, said that despite the decline in overall numbers, it was "worrying" that serious problems were rising "and we see an increase among women."

She said that, from a public health point of view, the high proportion of female gambling addicts – those with the most serious problem – was not the most important result.

"Our focus is broader than just people being dependent on the game," she said. "We are more interested in a larger group suffering damages … a combination of people with moderate risk and gambling problems."

This group contains over 100,000 people – just under 1.5% of the Swedish population. Another 225,000 – just under 3% of the population – are at some risk of becoming problem gamblers.

One area that the report highlights is the increasing amount of gambling done online, and the "new forms of gambling" on the internet that are changing game patterns.

Prof. Anders HÃ¥kansson of Lund University, a gambling addiction specialist, told Radio Sweden that this could be an explanation for the increase in the number of women playing.

"We have to consider the face that the game market is very different now … especially with the high proportion of online games going on," he said.

"Women seeking treatment are more likely to report online casino gambling than men," he said.

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Since January 1, Sweden has been operating a new licensing system for gambling and lotteries, and the country is now considering how such games are announced.

Minister of Public Administration, Ardalan Shekarabi issued a statement next to the report promising to "put an end to the aggressive advertising of the game."

The gambling industry has proposed a form of self-regulation, but Shekarabi said on Wednesday that "it will not be enough."

"More needs to be done so that those who are most vulnerable in the market are protected," he said.

In the UK, the betting commission says that men are much more likely to have gambling problems – 0.9% compared to 0.1% of the population. In the US, the difference between male and female players is narrowing, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling – and women still outnumber men in the 45-64 age bracket.

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