Gambling is a bigger problem than we think it is – that’s according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
The study concluded that the damaging impact of gambling has been ‘vastly underestimated’.
UK’s gambling epidemic
Here are some concerning statistics (and the main findings of the study) about the extent of the gambling epidemic in the UK:
- Approximately 0.7% of adults (about 340 000 people) in Great Britain are problem gamblers and a further 1.1% (about 550 000) are at moderate risk of harms related to gambling.
- Currently, there are 33 million online betting accounts in the UK.
- The popularity of online gambling has increased from less than 1% of the population in 1999 to 9% in 2016.
- Around 58% of adults in the UK have gambled at least one of these activities in the past year.
- 55,000 children between 11-16 reported problems from gambling behaviour.
- Only 2p/capita was spent last year to deal with this problem.
Concerns were raised about how little is being done at government levels to deal with this problem. For instance, the UK spent less than £1.5 million last year on prevention activities (i.e. only 2p/capita), which is far from adequate. This is far less than what some of the other Western countries are allocating to deal with the gambling problem. New Zealand, for example, spent £9.5m for a population of 4.7 million people (which is roughly 100 times more per capita in comparison to the UK).
The laws for dealing with the growing gambling problem are also inadequate.
Gambling harms have been vastly underestimated. It is placing major burdens on resources, relationships and health – Dr. Heather Wardle, lead author
Be aware, and spread the word
Gambling has become far too common, what with the deluge of online casinos, and betting shops, and apps. Every time you switch on the TV or go online there are usually ads for betting shops and casinos.
Most people get into it for a bit of fun or in the hope of making some easy money, but that rarely ever works out.
Gambling can cause a whole host of problems – not only does it risk damaging your finances, but it can also negatively impact your mental health and relationships. So it is really important to be aware of the dangers of gambling, especially if you have an addictive personality.
It is better to stay away from gambling than risk getting in too deep (especially when you are tired or in a fragile mental state). Prevention, after all, is better than cure.
Look after yourself.
Also, please spread the word. Only with your help can we raise more awareness.
If you know someone who can benefit from knowing about this, do forward this article to them.
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on the gambling problem in the UK.
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