Problem Gambling

From Social Collaborative Singapore
Jump to: navigation, search


Definition of Gambling[1]

Gambling is defined as - Any activity where a person risks an item of value, such as money or jewellery, on the outcome of an event that is determined mostly by chance.

Definition of Social Gambling
  • Gambling for fun with friends and/or family
  • Gambling within means
  • Gambling infrequently or during special occasions, with the ability to stop anytime
  • Gambling without causing harm to self and/or family
What is Problem Gambling?
  • An addiction similar to alcohol, smoking or drug addictions
  • Gambling with little or no control
  • A preoccupation with gambling
  • An obsession with chasing losses
  • Gambling that causes harm to self and/or family

Problem gambling can refer to the behaviour of persons who are addicted to gambling and find it difficult to stop. Like any addiction, symptoms can range from the mild to the severe. The most serious form of the gambling is called “Pathological”, “Disordered” or “Compulsive” Gambling.

It can also refer to the negative or harmful outcomes that result from gambling, which may affect either the gambler or those close to the gambler.

What are the signs of Problem Gambling?

Someone with a gambling problem may behave in the following manner:

  • Constantly thinking or talking about gambling
  • Spending more time or money on gambling than he/she can afford
  • Finding it difficult to control, stop, or cut down gambling, or feeling irritable when trying to do so
  • Feeling a sense of emptiness or loss when not gambling
  • Gambling more in order to win back losses or get out of financial trouble
  • Borrowing money, selling things, committing (or considering committing) criminal acts in order to get money for gambling
  • Having increased debt, unpaid bills, or other financial troubles because of gambling
  • Gambling to the last dollar


Based on the latest survey in 2014, the proportion of respondents classified as probable pathological gamblers is 0.2%, compared to 2.1% in 2005, 1.2% in 2008 and 1.4% in 2011. The average monthly betting amount among probable pathological gamblers was $313 in 2014. This has decreased from the average monthly betting amount of $637 in 2005, $619 in 2008 and $1,713 in 2011.[2]

Based on the Gambling Participation Survey (GPS) conducted by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) every three years, the probable problem and pathological gambling rate of Singapore residents in 2017 was 0.9%. In 2011, it was 2.6%.[3]

Prevalence of Probable Pathological Gambling By Personal Income

Personal Income 2005 2008 2011 2014
No Income 0.5% 0.8% 0.8% 0.1%
$1 - $999 0.7% 0% 0.5% 0%
$1,000 - $1,999 2.1% 2.3% 1.5% 0.4%
$2,000 - $2,999 4.2% 2.1% 1.9% 0.2%
$3,000 - $3,999 5.9% 1.1% 1.4% 0.6%
$4,000 and above 4.7% 0% 1.7% 0%

Impacts of Problem Gambling[4]

It is estimated that for every Problem Gambler, about eight to ten other people (e.g. their spouse, children, parents, other family members, friends, employers, etc) are harmed by gambling.

Some of the harms of excessive gambling are:

  • Financial problems: Severe debts or the lost of savings or property may arise as a result of gambling losses. The gambler may even resort to borrowing money or stealing to fund gambling activities.
  • Relational Problems: Lying or deceit on the part of the problem gambler due to the desire to hide gambling activities may strain relationships.
  • Physical and mental health: The stress of gambling problems sometimes causes health problems, for both the person who gambles and the family. This can include stress, anxiety, depression and even suicide.