Experts Warn of £12.6bn Scale of UK Gambling Problem

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The Guardian featured a piece Thursday on the rising problem of gambling addiction in the United Kingdom, highlighted this week by footballer Joe Barton’s claims that he blew 1260 bets on various matches between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016.


From the Guardian:

According to the most recent estimates, Britons lost £12.6bn through gambling last year, almost £300 per person, with 48% of people questioned by the Gambling Commission having admitted to gambling at least once in the previous month. The number of problem or pathological gamblers registered at 0.7%, up from 0.5% in 2015, but as many as 5.5% of those questioned identified as “at risk” gamblers, more than double the figure recorded the previous year.

LIVE ON-LINE gambling has played a major role in driving this addiction.

“What we have [with online gambling] is a new platform for providing a whole range of existing gambling services which effectively increases exposure and availability to unprecedented levels,” says Dr Sean Cowlishaw of Bristol University. “It is a profound change and vulnerable groups such as young people have the ability to gamble 24 hours a day from the comfort of their home. And we have no idea of the extent of the problem.”

“Technology advances at such a fast pace the structures that are tasked to control it don’t keep up,” says Professor Gerda Reith of the University of Glasgow, who has been working in the field of gambling harm for more than two decades. “That’s a fact of life but I think by not recognising that it’s such a problem we’re creating a problem. We’re not facing up to the potential for harm, particularly with regards to remote gambling that could lead to problems in the future.”

- Aaron Goldstein,

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