A survey of gambling addicts in Japan has found that in more than 80% of cases family members have taken on personal financial debts in an attempt to assist their afflicted loved ones. In many cases, the gambling debts taken on by the families exceeds several tens of thousands of dollars.
Overwhelmingly, these debts arose from pachinko playing, which is not officially classified as gambling by the Japanese government.
The survey was conducted as a collaboration between The Society Concerned About Gambling Addiction and a research team from Tsukuba University.
Noriko Tanaka, the president of The Society Concerned About Gambling Addiction, commented to the media as follows: “Support is needed not only for the afflicted individuals, but also for the families of the afflicted. Although the countermeasures being considered are diverse, the discussions are not deepening.”
A Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare study released last September estimated that about 3.6% of adult Japanese—3.2 million people—have been suspected of suffering from gambling addiction at some point in their lives. Among these, about 700,000 individuals (0.8%) were suspected of having a gambling problem within the past year. (AGB Nippon)