Date: 21.06.2024

by Adam Dworak

Estonia Faces Rising Gambling Addiction Concerns

Estonia is facing a significant gambling harm hazard risk, as revealed by a new societal trends study for 2023. The Gambling Addiction Counselling Center of Estonia (HNK) disclosed that 10% of Estonians are currently at risk of problem gambling, according to data from the research firm Kantar Emor.


Rising Problem Gambling Rates

Kantar Emor’s study highlights that aggressive marketing strategies by gambling companies are a major factor contributing to the current rate of problem gamblers. The study found that 76% of the general public had been targeted by gambling ads at some point, a 7% increase from 2021.

The study also revealed a concerning trend among younger demographics. It showed that 4% of children aged between 11 and 16 had gambled at least once in the previous week. Furthermore, 5% of children in this age group are at risk of developing gambling problems.

Silver Sternfeldt, the CEO of the Gambling Addiction Counseling Center (HNK), commented on these findings in an interview with Estonian media outlet ERR: “As a society, we have not yet reached a point where we know how to gamble responsibly or demand responsible gambling operations.”

Gambling Ads Under Scrutiny

The surge in gambling ads has become a significant political issue in Estonia. Earlier this year, policymakers convened to discuss a draft law aimed at imposing stricter regulations on social media influencers promoting gambling.

These draft amendments are expected to be finalized by the end of this year, following consultations with industry stakeholders and additional studies into the matter. The potential enforcement of these regulations is scheduled for the second half of 2025.

The Path Forward

The increasing gambling harm hazard in Estonia calls for immediate and effective measures to combat problem gambling. Enhanced regulations, public awareness campaigns, and responsible gambling practices are essential to mitigate the risks associated with gambling addiction.

Both the gambling industry and the government have roles to play in addressing this issue. The government needs to enforce stricter regulations and ensure that gambling companies adhere to responsible marketing practices.

On the other hand, gambling operators must prioritize player safety and implement measures to prevent problem gambling among vulnerable populations, particularly the youth.