From problem gambling to crime? Findings from the Finnish National Police Information System
In previous studies, problem gambling was found to have many adverse consequences, including crime. However, links between crime and problem gambling have been studied relatively little. To fill this gap, we collected problem gambling-related police reports from the Finnish National Police Information System. Fifty-five problem gambling-related crime incidents reported to the police 2011 in Finland were subjected to qualitative analysis. The role of problem gambling, as self-identified by the gamblers themselves, was examined as highlighted in different crime reports: what common features did the gamblers share, and what were the possible causal mechanisms between problem gambling and crime? The data consisted of text documents produced by the police, specifically crime reports and preliminary investigation documents. Collected documents were coded using Weft QDA and SPSS. Grounded theory approach was applied. The majority of the cases were non-violent property crimes, committed at home or at the workplace. We determined that problem gambling, through financial difficulties, does indeed lead to crime.
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