Problem gambling and crime – new article

In this study, we searched a database with more than a quarter of a million criminal verdicts delivered in a five year period by Swedish courts. We found 282 cases in which problem gambling was the main cause of committing crime. In this open access article, we present the main results from the study.

Abstract This study explored the characteristics and consequences of criminogenic problem gambling in Sweden. All verdicts (N = 283,884) delivered by Swedish general courts between 2014 and 2018 were subjected to a key word search for the term ‘problem gambling’ and its synonyms. Verdicts that met the search criterion (n = 1,232) were inspected manually and cases in which problem gambling clearly was the main cause for committing crime (n = 282) were analyzed quantitatively. The most common types of crimes were fraud and embezzlement (67%). Each year around 400 individuals, companies, and organizations became victims of gambling-driven crimes, with nonprofit organizations being the most severely affected. Those convicted for such crimes were older, and to a greater extent female and first-time offenders, compared to national statistics on crimes in general. This suggests that in Sweden, middle-aged women are a high-risk group for severe gambling problems that should be monitored particularly closely by gambling companies for indications of problematic gambling. We conclude that although crimes driven by problem gambling are relatively rare in the justice system, they bring considerable harm to victims and the perpetrators themselves.

Binde, P., Cisneros Örnberg, J., & Forsström, D. (2022). Criminogenic problem gambling: A study of verdicts by Swedish courts. International Gambling Studies, 22(3): 344-364.

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