What age group is most affected by gambling addiction?
Studies conducted in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe have found that adolescents and young adults (those under 30 years old*) are most affected by gambling problems. In particular, one American study** has reported that 3.1% of 18-29 year olds, 1.5% of 30-39 year olds, 2.4% of 40-49 year olds and 2.8 % of 50-64 year olds gamble excessively. For adults aged 65 years or more, the percentage is significantly less (0.3%).
For Switzerland, a study*** about the prevalence of probable excessive gambling shows that 43% of people experiencing this difficulty were less than 29 years old. Furthermore, the researchers found that those who started gambling before the age of 21 years were significantly more likely to develop gambling problems.
We should note that gambling is generally prohibited for children under 18, with the exception of certain lotteries and sporting events.
* Shaffer, Hall & Vander Bilt (1999)
** Gerstein, Volberg, Toce, Harwood, Johnson, Buie et al. (1999)
*** Bondolfi, Osiek & Ferrero (2000)