This paper is aimed at shading the light on the diffusion and characteristics of gambling in Italy. In a path departing from the economic entity of the phenomenon, concerning both generated income for the State and expenditure by gamblers, through the description of the increase in the offer of gambling opportunities, the paper presents meaningful epidemiological data describing the current features of the phenomenon in Italy and provides the necessary backdrop to interpret it. The results of two studies, European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD®Italia), and Italian Population Survey on Alcohol and other Drugs (IPSAD®), conducted by the Institute of Clinical Physiology of the National Research Council, form the basis for an in-depth analysis of the characteristics of gambling both among adolescent students aged 15-19 and in the general population (15-64). The use of specific screening tests allow to provide an insight into the diffusion of problematic forms associated to this activity. The description presented in the present paper comprises a detailed analysis of individual and environmental characteristics associated to gambling behaviours and different gamblers’ profiles. Evidences provided can greatly contribute to informing evidence-based prevention policies and interventions, whose effectiveness is being displayed. Indeed, statistical analysis presented in this paper show how the increase in prevention activities implemented in school is associated to a decrease in the share of young at-risk and problem gamblers.
Keywords: Gambling, Survey, Gambling severity, Gambling attitudes