Rethinking the Approach to Gambling Disorder: The Case of the Italian Healthcare Services

Linda Lombi, Marco Pedroni


In a cultural context where ludopathy is a social phenomenon built through normative and medical definitions, how are healthcare services approaching the treatment of gambling disorder? The purpose of this study is to examine the Italian healthcare service approach to pathological gambling disorder (PGD), with the aim of formulating proposals for action. Italy is chosen as a crucial terrain of investigation to understand the challenges posed by the growth of the gambling market in Europe and its consequences on its healthcare systems.

The empirical material underpinning the analysis includes the latest official statistical data regarding the socio-medical treatment of people with addictions in Italy as well as qualitative interviews conducted with social-sanitary structure managers responsible for therapeutic activities combating dependencies. Through a social construction perspective, gambling and PGD are understood as social phenomena whose meaning and definition comes as a result of a process of negotiation.

Accordingly, principal findings are related to the respondents’ visions of PGD and how they perceive the activities of social and health services, the impact of changes in legislation on the organisation of services, and the ongoing changes regarding this process.


gambling disorders; ludopathy; gambling policies

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ISSN 2239-8589 | Managing Editor: Debora Viviani | Editor in Chief: Paola Di Nicola