Gambling addiction is a large problem in the UK, with many people succumbing to this activity in the hopes of winning big. The growth of the online gaming industry and easy access to the internet has led to more and more individuals developing problems with gambling. Many blame the online gaming industry for the fact that countless families are being ripped apart by this devastating addiction; others put the blame firmly at the feet of the fixed odds betting terminals that are located in almost every betting shop in the country.
A large number of individuals do not think the gambling industry is doing enough to regulate these machines, and campaigners have been calling on the Government to limit the maximum amount that can be wagered on one spin. Currently, gamblers can bet up to £100 per spin, with each machine capable of spinning three times per minute. Campaigners want the maximum spin to be set at £2. So far, these calls have been shot down by the gambling industry and the Government.
However, the gambling industry does seem to be taking the issue of problem gambling seriously, and the Association of British Bookmakers has just announced a Player Awareness Systems initiative that would see special software placed on betting machines. This software would encourage those identified as problem gamblers to stop betting.
The move comes on the back of research findings by the Responsible Gambling Trust. Results showed that it is possible to tell problem gamblers from those who can gamble responsibly. The software will work by analysing the behaviour of customers using betting shops. If a person is displaying signs of problem gambling, he or she will be sent emails or text messages warning them of their behaviour. Customers would obviously have to be logged on to accounts for the system to work.
Betting shop staff members will be made aware of a problem gambler and will be able to intervene if necessary.
Gambling machines are a huge source of revenue for betting shops, with William Hill reporting revenue from machines at £229.2 million in the first six months of 2015. Ladbrokes reported that their 8,732 gambling machines around the country were generating 55 per cent of their overall revenue from betting shops. Both companies have welcomed the new initiative.
Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen said that his company were fully behind the Player Awareness Systems initiative and happy to join forces with other operators in a bid to reduce potential harm to players. All members of the Association of British Bookmakers support the initiative, which is good news for campaigners.
The Consequences of a Gambling Addiction
A gambling addiction is a devastating illness. Those affected can think of nothing but their need to gamble, and their ability to make good decisions is impaired. Many will continue to gamble even when they have run out of disposable cash. They may begin to use money that is needed to pay bills or buy food for the family. Others will borrow from family and friends, and many more will turn to crime in a bid to get their hands on the cash they need.
Families around the country are going without because of one person’s addiction to gambling. Others are finding themselves behind bars because of crimes committed to fund a destructive habit.
A gambling addiction is similar to other types of addiction in that it will not go away by itself. It is an illness that affects the way the brain works and, as such, requires treatment for these changes to be reversed. Thankfully, there is plenty of help available. Here at Addiction Helper, we have a team waiting to take your call and offer you the advice and support you need to get better. Contact us today and we can provide you with free information on where you can access treatment. Alternatively, we can simply offer you a listening ear if you need it.