A South Korean lawmaker said Tuesday that the number of gambling addicts nationwide had almost doubled over the past four years based on those who had sought addiction treatment.
According to The Korea Times, the issue was raised by Rep. Jun Hye-sook of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), who cited figures from the National Health Insurance Service showing that the number of compulsive gamblers who received treatment had grown by 91.2% from 1,218 in 2018 to 2,329 in 2022. While Jun did not provide any information on types of gambling, she did note that the main proliferation was among younger people with people in their 30s accounting for 866 of the 2,329 to have sought treatment last year, followed by people in their 20s at 791. There were also 82 teenage addicts.
Likewise, those in their 20s showed the fastest rate of increase of gambling addiction at 106.5%, followed by 99.5% for those in their 30s and 89.8% for those in and their 40s.
Despite this, the number neuropsychiatrists working in the field of gambling has fallen from 173 in 2018 to 114 in 2022, and the number of government-designated rehab clinics from 26 to 24 over the same time period.
“Illegal ads that are prevalent online are enticing people in their teens and 20s to gamble,” Jun said. “The government should enforce gambling prevention education and expand the related budget.”