Gambling addicts on the rise
Gambling addiction in Britain is on the rise, fuelled by an explosion in internet betting, a major study has found. The revelation coincides with the introduction of controversial new gambling legislation this weekend.
The results of the Gambling Prevalence Study, to be published this month, will increase pressure on ministers to crack down on sites that target young or vulnerable users.
The investigation was commissioned two years ago as a follow-up to a 1999 study which found 'relatively low' levels of addiction in the UK. But this time researchers say they have found a significant increase in problem gambling, with a particularly steep rise in online betting. This confirms other research which has found a sharp rise in online betting.
These studies indicate there are now nearly a million 'regular online gamblers' in Britain, accounting for almost a third of the European total. On average, these individuals spend about £1,000 a year on their habit, which means that gamblers now spend more than £1bn a year online.
Last week the Salvation Army said it was important to remember the human cost of gambling addiction. The charity GamCare has attacked the government for failing to require its helpline to appear on any adverts.
Ministers responsible for the new policy say the address of a new 'advice and information' service would appear on betting adverts.
The Culture, Media and Sport Secretary James Purnell last month urged industry representatives not to run TV advertisements for online gambling services before 9pm.
The new law sets out rules for the registration and licensing of online gambling companies in Britain, but it also allows them to advertise on television for the first time.
Source: Guardian News
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