Three essays on the socioeconomics of gambling and pathological gambling
Neuchâtel : Université de Neuchâtel
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ABSTRACT :<br>In Switzerland, approximately 1.5% of the population suffers from disordered gambling behaviour. This rate has remained relatively stable over the last decade. Thus, a significant number of individuals must cope with the severe adverse consequences that are associated with this disorder: most notably, depression, debt, divorce, violence and criminality. The efforts to address this public health concern have included several prevention measures that have been implemented at gambling venues and mass media campaigns that have been designed to inform the public about the addictive potential of this activity. Although these efforts appear to have prevented the prevalence of gambling from increasing despite the significant increase in opportunities for gambling, such efforts have not led to a decrease in gambling disorders. There may be several reasons for these results. First, a lack of concern (and thus funding) in the public sector may prevent efficient prevention measures from being implemented. Second, a lack of knowledge regarding the characteristics of at-risk groups may prevent these measures from targeting the appropriate individuals. Finally, because gambling operators encounter an obvious conflict of interest in enforcing measures that are intended to prevent problem gambling, these operators may be less resolute than one would hope in attempting to address the issue.<br>Through this dissertation, I aim to enhance the research on gambling and its consequences. For this purpose, the dissertation is divided into two main parts. The first part consists of a description of problem gambling and its health-related consequences. Subsequently, the various prevention measures that can be implemented are discussed. The first section concludes with a description of the gambling landscape in Switzerland. The second portion of the dissertation consists of three empirical essays that provide insight into the consequences and characteristics of problem and pathological gambling and the gambling tax issue. The first essay fills the gap in the literature regarding the social cost of gambling; previous studies have consistently failed to estimate the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) cost associated with gambling and thus significantly underestimate the problem. In Switzerland, I estimated this cost to be more than CHF 3,800 per year per pathological gambler. This result implies that the loss of quality of life resulting from gambling generates more than 60% of the total social cost. The second study is designed to describe the characteristics of gamblers and problem gamblers. First, I highlight the differences between gamblers and non-gamblers. The individuals in the first group are notably more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours, such as alcohol abuse, drug consumption or tobacco smoking. Subsequently, I compare recreational gamblers with pathological gamblers and find significant differences in terms of their socio-economic characteristics. Moreover, disordered gamblers are at a greater risk for smoking and suffering from depression. Interestingly, the type of gambling activity has a significant influence on one’s risk of developing a gambling problem; internet gamblers exhibit a seven-fold increase in risk. The third paper analyses the equity principle and the tax on gambling activities. In this study, I analyse the regressivity of this tax using gambling expenditures.<br>The results consistently show that lower-income individuals devote a higher proportion of their revenues to gambling than do higher-income individuals.
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Resource Types::text::thesis::doctoral thesis
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