When it comes to addiction, there are many distinct types, but most people’s opinions first turn to problems with alcohol or drugs. However, gambling addiction continues to be a huge problem here in the UK, with increasingly more individuals becoming affected every single day. With access to online gambling twenty-four hours a day and betting shops containing what have been described as the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling (fixed odds betting terminals), it is no surprise that so many people are developing gambling addictions that are ultimately destroying their lives.

Campaigners have been calling for the stakes on fixed odds betting terminals to be lowered for quite some time, as they feel these target the most vulnerable in society. However, it is not just those who are struggling with money issues that end up developing gambling addictions. In fact, addiction also affects many sports stars; news has recently come to light that a top UK footballer has taken advantage of a self-exclusion scheme operated by a top bookies so that he can overcome his own gambling addiction.

Why Are Gambling Machines So Addictive?

Fixed odds betting terminals are highly addictive and are capable of spinning three times in just one minute. With maximum stakes currently set at £100 per spin, it is possible for punters to lose up to £1500 in just five minutes.

The Daily Record is reporting that the unidentified Scottish international has joined Ladbrokes’ self-exclusion scheme to stop himself using gambling machines after apparently losing thousands of pounds on them. Staff have received details of the footballer and will now refuse to serve him for the next twelve months. It is not clear if other betting shops have also been asked to ban the star, but it is believed that his club are aware of his decision to join the self-exclusion scheme.

Recognising the Problem

Sources have said that the footballer has realised that he has a massive problem and believes that it could be the source of the mood swings he was suffering. He feared that his football career could be in jeopardy and decided to act promptly. A source said, “He’s had a problem with gambling for a while, but the penny appears to have finally dropped and it is being addressed. He was losing fortunes on these high-stakes machines, and it was badly affecting him. Everyone hopes this self-exclusion arrangement with Ladbrokes is a step in the right direction.”

It is not the first time that a high-profile footballer has been affected by addiction. Joey Barton has also recently admitted that he is struggling with a gambling addiction, but for him, the issue has effectively ended his footballing career. After being found guilty by the FA of betting on 1,260 football matches, he was handed an eighteen-month ban.

Gambling Problems in Football

Campaigners are calling for football chiefs to do more to protect players and believe that betting firms should not be permitted to sponsor teams. Kevin Twaddle, who played at Hearts, Motherwell, and St Johnstone, is a former gambling addict who lost more than £1 million, leaving him on the verge of suicide. He now helps players by raising awareness of the problem. He said, “Gambling is still a massive problem in football – it’s an epidemic. Scottish football is essentially run by betting companies. How can Scottish football be big on gambling awareness when they are sponsored by all the major bookies?”

He believes that gambling sponsorship should be banned in the same way that both alcohol and cigarette sponsoring was.

Help for Addiction

If you are affected by a gambling addiction, help is available. Here at Blue Skies Recovery, we are helping people with addiction every single day. Our excellent treatment programmes are designed around the needs of the patient to ensure that he or she has the best chance for a long-term recovery. Call us today for more information.

Source: (The Mirror) Top UK footballer begs bookies to ban him from betting as he battles gambling addiction

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