According to the results of a new South African report, the number of problem gamblers does not rise or drop with changes in gambling law or policies, as problem gambling is more an individual mental disorder.
Researches at the University of Capetown and the University of KwaZulu-Natal show that “the incidence of problem gamblers is both smaller than generally thought, and consistently in the same percentage range regardless of local gambling availability”.
The approximate number of true gamblers comes to 0.5% – 0.7%. These people have proved to be resistant to treatment. They are thought to be the result of genetic factors. In the opinion of some scientists, a drug therapy treating the illness as a specific neural pathology may be the answer to the problem.
The result of the South African study supports the recent studies in the USA and Europe, in which problem gambling is said to be “a mere symptom of an underlying mental dysfunction, and in which physical differences were detected in the brains of those who suffered from problem gambling”.
Another group revealed in the course of the South African study, consists of individuals gambling beyond their means, thus causing themselves temporary financial distress. But these gamblers are not considered addictive, as they can easily moderate their own behavior.
So, the idea of politicians around the globe regarding problem gambling seems to be totally wrong. To ban gambling is not the way out, people should be let make their own choice, to play or not.