It used to be the case that in order to gamble, you would have to physically enter a betting shop or casino to place your bet. These days, it is possible to gamble at any time of the day or night, all from the comfort of your own home.
With easy access to the internet via mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops coupled with a growing number of online gambling sites that seem to be appearing all the time, it is not surprising that an NHS clinic has reported an ‘explosion’ in the number of individuals developing gambling addictions through their smartphones.
Do Smartphones Make Gambling Easier?
Campaigners now fear that mobile devices such as smartphones are making it too easy for people to gamble. The National Centre for Problem Gambling has revealed that in the last year alone, it has provided financial advice, medication, and therapy to 762 people across England and Wales, with more than half of those having developed a problem through their mobile phones.
Of those who sought help from the charity in 2016, almost two-thirds admitted to gambling on their mobile phone through gambling site apps. This number had increased from under fifty per cent in 2015. Gamblers were asked to list the ways they had gambled in the past month, and 460 responded by saying via their smartphones. This figure was sixty per cent higher than the figure for 2015, which was 286. It was also the first time that more people had gambled using smart devices than in betting shops.
Increase in Referrals
The National Centre for Problem Gambling is the only clinic of its kind in the UK; in 2016, it received twenty per cent more referrals than it had in 2015. These referrals came from counsellors, doctors and often the addicted individuals themselves.
A spokesperson for gambling charity GamCare, Mike Kenward said after analysing the results, “There is no doubt that technology has made gambling much more available now. If you have a smartphone in your hand, you can make a bet at any time. Our own figures show that 50 percent of all our callers who are gambling online are using smartphones or tablets to do so. Five years ago, this proportion was significantly smaller. Ten years ago, there was none.”
He went on to say, “There has been a noted increase in online gambling in recent years. We would urge people who think they have a problem, whether online or otherwise, to get in touch. We can help them.”
Does Gambling Cause Harm to Families?
Gambling addiction is often referred to as a secret or hidden addiction because those affected can feed their habit without others around them being aware. This is particularly true now that gambling has become more accessible via the internet and mobile devices.
It is often the case that family members and friends are completely unaware that a loved one has a problem until it has spiralled out of control. In many instances, the addicted person will have racked up huge debts, using every available penny they had saved in a bid to feed their habit. Some people have re-mortgaged their homes without their partners’ knowledge, and others have resorted to crime in a desperate attempt to try to win back money lost before loved ones discover their secret.
If the above sounds familiar to you, we urge you to get in touch with us here at Recovery Lighthouse today. We can help you get your life back on track through our superb treatment programmes. We also offer advice and help to family members who have been affected by a loved one’s gambling addiction. Call today for more information on how we can assist.