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Journal of Addiction
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 659731, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/659731
Research Article

National Helpline for Problem Gambling: A Profile of Its Users’ Characteristics

1Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Council of Research, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy
2Gioca Responsabile, FeDerSerD, Via Giotto 3, 20145 Milano, Italy

Received 23 September 2014; Accepted 16 April 2015

Academic Editor: Gallus Bischof

Copyright © 2015 Luca Bastiani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Gambling has seen a significant increase in Italy in the last 10 years and has rapidly become a public health issue, and for these reasons the first National Helpline for Problem Gambling (GR-Helpline) has been established. The aims of this study are to describe the GR-Helpline users’ characteristics and to compare the prevalence rates of the users with those of moderate-risk/problematic gamblers obtained from the national survey (IPSAD 2010-2011). Statistical analysis was performed on data obtained from the counselling sessions (phone/e-mail/chat) carried out on 5,805 users (57.5% gamblers; 42.5% families/friends). This confirms that the problems related to gambling concern not only the gamblers but also their families and friends. Significant differences were found between gamblers and families/friends involving gender (74% of gamblers were male; 76.9% of families/friends were female), as well as age-classes and geographical area. Female gamblers had a higher mean age (47.3 versus 40.2 years) and preferred nonstrategy-based games. Prevalence rates of GR-Helpline users and of moderate risk/problematic gamblers were correlated (Rho = 0.58; ). The results highlight the fact that remote access to counselling can be an effective means of promoting treatment for problem gamblers who do not otherwise appeal directly for services.