In 2017, the prevalence of at-risk or pathological gambling behaviour was 2.9% in the Swiss population. If we extrapolate the data from the survey to the number of people living in private households in Switzerland aged 15 and over, this results in an estimate of 178 000 persons with at-risk and 15 000 persons with pathological gambling behaviour.
This indicator is part of the Monitoring System Addiction and NCD (MonAM) of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
In Switzerland various forms of gambling, for example slot machines, poker, betting on sports events or lotteries are used regularly by the population. In addition to people whose gambling behaviour presents a low to moderate risk, there are gamblers whose behaviour is at-risk or pathological. Those affected are people who have lost control over their gambling behaviour and whose daily life often centres around gambling. This behaviour can seriously effect family and professional life. Compulsive gambling frequently leads to financial problems. Typically, pathological gamblers tend to lose touch with reality and to deny that there is a problem. A key concern of the Gambling Act is the protection of gamblers against the socially damaging effects of gambling.
The indicator shows the prevalence of at-risk and pathological gambling in the population and helps to plan preventive measures and intervention.
The indicator shows the percentage of people who indicate their gambling as pathological or at-risk in comparison to other gambling behaviours (low-risk/never).
The indicator is based on the following four questions (SGLSP25a; SGLSP25b; SGLSP25c; SGLP25d) from the Swiss Health Survey (SHS):
“Please answer the following questions on gambling:
- a) Have you ever tried to give up, limit or control your gambling?
- b) Have you ever lied to family members, friends and other people about how often you play or how much money you have lost?
- c) Have you ever experienced a period of at least two weeks in which you have spent a lot of time reliving past gambling experiences or planning for upcoming gambling opportunities?
- d) Have you ever felt the urge to gamble for ever higher stakes (amounts of money)?
People are considered pathological gamblers if they answer at least three questions with “yes”. People who answer one or two questions with “yes” and who have already gambled once in their life are classed as having at-risk behaviour. Low-risk gamblers have none of the four mentioned problems.
- Federal Statistical Office (FSO): Swiss Health Survey
- Dey, M. et al. (2019). Glücksspiel: Verhalten und Problematik in der Schweiz im Jahr 2017. ISGF, Zürich: study (in German).
- Haug Severin & Christian Meyer (2015). Auswahl und Empfehlung von Items zur Befragung des Bundesamts für Statistik zum Thema Geldglücksspiele im Jahr 2017. ISGF, Zürich.
- Bundesgesetz über Geldspiele: Geldspielgesetz, BGS (in German, French and Italian)
- Zentrum für Spielsucht und Verhaltenssüchte: Website (in German)
Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Tel. +41 58 462 95 05