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Games of chance such as lottery are the most popular forms of gambling in Finland, reports the National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL). (Credit: Veikkaus)
Games of chance such as lottery are the most popular forms of gambling in Finland, reports the National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL). (Credit: Veikkaus)

 

Researchers at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) have offered their thoughts on the ongoing debate about problem gambling and the positioning of slot machines in Finland.

Anne Salonen and Heli Hagfors of THL on Monday published a blog post discussing the findings of the first large-scale attempt to identify the factors that motivate Finns to gamble, the Gambling Harms Survey 2016.

Salonen and Hagfors pointed out that while the primary motivation factor for gambling was, unsurprisingly, winning money, the three most popular forms of gambling in the country are so-called games of chance: lottery, scratch cards and slot machines.

“[These] are so-called games of chance, where the player cannot influence the outcome. The players of random games also cannot practise to develop as players,” they wrote.

“Gambling has generally been designed in a way that the winnings go to the game providers, rather than players. Do players know their actual odds to win when playing different types of gambling games?”

The survey also found that gambling is common particularly among people who are unemployed, temporarily laid off, on disability pension or long-term sick leave, or at home taking care of their children or another family member.

Gambling, as a result, is popular particularly in regions with low socio-economic status and – coincidentally – with the highest ratio of slot machines, according to Salonen and Hagfors.

The second most common motivation factor for gambling is the enjoyment, excitement and entertainment it provides, with 18–24-year-old respondents especially likely to gamble for excitement and entertainment. The age group, in fact, was the only where winning money was not the most important motivation factor for gambling.

Although young people are also more likely than others to gamble socially, this is a concern for Salonen and Hagfors.

“Gambling problems are closely linked to indebtedness, which in turn heightens the risk of social exclusion. It is necessary to pay particular attention to gambling problems among young adults to prevent possible social exclusion. Youth outreach work, for example, could target areas where young people gamble,” they noted.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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