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Will young people accessing online gaming cause issues with gambling in adulthood?

August 23, 2018 7:04 PM
By Cllr Karen Chilvers
Cllr Karen Chilvers

Cllr Karen Chilvers

Gambling is a mug's game - we all know that. It's what makes the adrenalin rush of the win so exhilarating. Yet, many of us like a flutter whether it's buying a National Lottery ticket, investing in shares or a bet on the date of the next General Election!

There's not necessarily a link between gaming and gambling, as there are many different routes in to the serious 'problem gambling' that's estimated to affect 430,000 people in the UK and online lure affects all ages. If you are predisposed to an addictive personality an occasional wager probably won't suffice.

To add some robust, expert information, last year the Gambling Commission released a report that showed, from 2012 to 2015, problem gambling increased. However, it isn't online gambling causing concern, but fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), that allow betting shop customers to spend up to £100 every 20 seconds.

But, what also became apparent is that although only 4% of people gamble online in the UK, almost 35% of these are "at risk gamblers" and those account for a further 2 million. So, although problem gambling rose by just 0.2% of the population to 0.8%, there could be an alarming rise in the pipeline. But, right now, things seem stable.

On the issue of FOBTs, The Association of British Bookmakers stated that, "seeking to ban a single gambling product will simply lead to the shifting of problem gamblers to other areas rather than addressing the root cause of the issue," and, I believe, the same is true of the betting shop v. online gambling argument as well as the supposed link from gaming.

This is, in the context of the UK population, a small problem but it doesn't feel that way if someone you know is sufferng it because, as yet, there's no solution to addiction.