Gambling addiction is a problem that affects many people in the UK, and it has become more prevalent as the rise of technology continues unabated. With many apps and sites being so widely publicised, it is opening the door for almost anyone to be able to gamble day or night; consequently, more individuals are developing devastating addictions.

Shocking figures have emerged recently that show a growing number of children are being exposed to gambling sites and are consequently developing gambling addictions; even from as young as eleven!

Dangerous

Recent research by the Gambling Commission has found that around 450,000 children between the ages of eleven and fifteen are gambling every week. Out of that number, 9,000 are likely to have a gambling addiction; even though sixty per cent of those surveyed acknowledged that gambling could be dangerous. Exactly 2,411 children from 103 different state secondary schools across Wales and England were surveyed, and it showed that gambling was more common in males than females. The research also highlighted the fact that the boys gambled twice as much as the girls did in the week before the study.

The Commission noted that gambling among children had stayed roughly the same while alcohol and drug consumption, along with smoking, in children was decreasing. The figures showed that fruit machines seemed to be the most popular form of gambling among the children, closely followed by lottery tickets and scratch cards. Children are also gambling in arcades, bingo halls and betting shops, with three per cent even admitting to gambling online. Some will use their parent’s accounts to gamble, and six per cent of those asked would do this without permission from their parents.

Social Media

The top three answers when asked why they were gambling were ‘to make money’, they ‘thought it would be exciting’ and they ‘thought it would be fun and entertaining’. Seventy-five per cent of those surveyed admitted that they had seen adverts featuring gambling on television, 63 per cent had seen it on social media while 57 per cent had noticed gambling sites being promoted on other websites. Nearly one in ten children ‘follow’ gambling companies on social media such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Seventy-three per cent of children partake in gambling online using apps; this has increased from 64 per cent in the space of just one year. Twenty-five per cent of children said that they gambled through Facebook.

Risks Associated with Gambling

Gambling Commission executive director Tim Miller said, “We’re often reminded to discuss the risks of drinking, drugs and smoking with our children. However, our research shows that children are twice as likely to gamble than do any of those things. We want to reassure parents that our rules require gambling businesses to prevent and tackle underage gambling, and we take firm action where young people are not properly protected. We recognise that there are some gambling activities in which young people are legally permitted to partake – such as using a crane machine to win a toy or betting between friends. But we would encourage parents to speak to their children about the risks associated with gambling, so that if they choose to gamble in adulthood, they will do so in a safe and responsible way.”

Young People at Risk

Catherine Sweet works for GamCare, a charity that works to prevent and treat problem gambling. She said, “The foundation of our new strategy to work with young people is our youth outreach programme, including the creation of regional ‘youth hubs’ to provide free-of-charge workshops directly to young people, as well as training for professionals working with young people in the local area. These hubs will be located in Bristol, Birmingham and the North West (covering Manchester and Liverpool) as well as London. We will provide materials and screening tools to assist local youth services and teachers in identifying young people at risk. Each youth hub will be able to provide referrals to our specialist treatment for young people who are experiencing or vulnerable to gambling-related harm.”

Treatments for Gambling Addicts

If you are concerned that one of your loved ones is suffering from a gambling addiction, contact us here at Liberty House. Our priority is to ensure that every patient overcomes his or her addiction successfully in a safe and comfortable environment; our staff are friendly and are fully trained, so you can rest assured that your loved one will be in safe hands with us.

We tailor all our treatments to suit the specific requirements of the individual so that the treatment will greatly benefit them, giving them a better chance of long-term success. If you require any further information on our clinic, staff or treatment options, do not hesitate to contact us today and we would be more than happy to assist.

Source: Almost half a million children gamble every week, commission warns  (Telegraph)