Helping you understand
Gambling is an accepted part of everyday life in the UK. One only has to see the number of television adverts, on-line adverts and apps to see the growing popularity of gambling.
Gambling takes many forms, some of which appear to be just a bit of fun but it is important to see how this can also lead to problems and compulsive gambling.
For the majority of people, gambling may simply be entering the national lotter once or twice per week or the occasional bet on a sports match. These people appear not to have a problem and most will happily continue doing this without any serious consequences. However, some of these people will develop a gambling addiction.
In the UK it is estimated that approximately 400,000 people are suffering from compulsive gambling. This number has grown dramatically over recent years and can be attributed to a variety of factors including:
- Economic downturn
- Increased presence of betting shops on the high street
- Increased marketing of betting companies
- Mobile and digital gambling platforms
- Increased lotter draws and scratchcars
- FOBT machines in betting shops (usually Roulette)
All of these factors have a part to play and also mean that it is now very easy to gamble 24 hours a day. Last year it is estimated that approximately 10 billion pounds was spent on gambling!
It is estimated that approximately 5% of compulsive gamblers eek help meaning that 95% of problem gamblers have their lives ruined by debt and depression.
For many years, people thought that to be an alcoholic you had to be a ‘park bench drunk’. This is definitely not the case and the same applies to gambling. You do not have to gamble every day to be a compulsive gambler. Being a compulsive or problem gambler generally describes someone who gambles and as a result has problems.
- If I pay off the debts the problem is solved is still commonly held by many people.This is in fact the opposite of the truth and often just enables the gambler to continue.
- Gambing is not a problem if I’m rich enough.This is a myth.Gambling will affect emotional well-being, relationships and performance regardless of the amount of money that one has.
- I’m bound to win.I’ve had such a bad losing streak. Myth!
- Compulsive gambling only affects irresponsible people who make bad choice. Myth! Like any other addiction, gambling can affect anyone and is a complex process which often requires professional treatment.
- It’s easy to spot a compulsive gambler. Myth! In fact, gamblers are usually masters at hiding the problem, often painting a rosy picture to the rest of the world