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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: The big difference between gambling and alcohol and drugs is that it’s much easier to hide
Author: Fraser Trevor
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English: Betting shop, Formby Ladbrokes is a national gambling company. (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) For the vast majority of people, g...
English: Betting shop, Formby Ladbrokes is a n...
English: Betting shop, Formby Ladbrokes is a national gambling company. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the vast majority of people, gambling is a harmless pastime: almost three-quarters of all Brits had a flutter last year, if you include the National Lottery. But for a growing minority, it can wreak devastation.
In the past decade, a multitude of new forms of gambling have sprung up. As well as going to a racetrack, betting shop or casino, punters can wager against one another on online betting exchanges, use high-speed fixed-odds betting terminals, or visit any of thousands of sites to gamble online or on mobile phones. There are scratchcards in corner shops, countless TV and online ads for online bingo, slots and sports betting, and Channel 5 regularly runs live roulette tournaments through the night, and boasts of hundreds of thousands of users.
Gambling is now a 24-hour pastime. And a growing number of problem gamblers are finding the temptations available to be overwhelming.
The big difference between gambling and alcohol and drugs is that it’s much easier to hide.’
- Ron Turrell, gambling counsellor 
To measure problem gambling, researchers ask a series of questions: are you preoccupied with gambling? Do you chase losses? Have you lied about the extent of your gambling? Have you committed a crime to enable you to gamble? Have you relied on others to bail you out? And so on. Answer ‘yes’ to five or more of these questions, and you are classed as a problem gambler.
There are an estimated 451,000 problem gamblers in the UK according to the 2010 Gambling Prevalence Survey - 0.9% of the population, and a rise of over 90,000 in the three years since the previous such study. A further 900,000 are believed to be at risk: young men, ethnic minorities, students and the unemployed are especially vulnerable.
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