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Keywords:

  • gambling;
  • prevalence;
  • alcoholism;
  • Switzerland

Objective: This survey aimed to evaluate the prevalence of pathological gambling (PG) in the Swiss population in 2005 and the link between PG and alcohol abuse. This replication study made it possible to compare the prevalence rates of PG measured before and after the introduction of casinos and new preventive legislation.

Method: A total of 2803 telephone interviews were completed using standardized assessment instruments for identifying gamblers (South Oaks Gambling Screen) and alcohol abuse (CAGE).

Results: The past-year prevalence rates were 0.8% for problem and 0.5% for PG. No relationship was found between alcohol abuse and gambling behaviour. The past-year prevalence of disordered gambling did not change between 1998 and 2005.

Conclusion: Despite widespread openings of casinos in Switzerland since 2002, the prevalence estimates of past-year disordered gambling have remained stable. The discussion focuses on different factors (social measures, legal obligations and social adaptational capacities) that may account for the stabilization of prevalence estimates.