Young people more likely to turn into problem gamblers, claim experts
This week, a conference in Glasgow, Scotland will see a number of talks about gambling prevalence and problem gambling, as well as the impact of online and mobile gambling on the matter.
The number of problem gamblers remains quite low, but there will still be much expert talk on the issue. As Yvonne MacDermid, chief executive of Money Advice Scotland, told local media: "What we are seeing is more and more people seeking help for their gambling debt and the gambling-related harm that follows. Some people can gamble and it doesn't become uncontrollable but gambling problems can be a tricky thing to detect.
"The economy is such that people are taking chances that they wouldn't have taken before."
It has been added by MacDermid that heavily promoted online bingo sites created a false sense of security for some: "Online bingo is a very social thing. People may be sitting at home feeling quite isolated and the bingo sites create a sense of a social network. For some people these sites may just be an interest but for some it gets out of control very quickly."
She also noted that advances in technology, including smartphone apps for betting sites have made access to betting even easier.
"Bear in mind people could be sitting in a bookmaker's waiting on their horse running. There may be further betting machines in the bookmaker's and they could well have betting apps on their phone. They could be watching the progress of one bet and be on their phone at the same time trying to get a pay-day loan to cover the cost of it. People can become extremely vulnerable if they borrow money to bet," she concluded.
According to another expert, Marc Etches, chief executive of the Responsible Gambling Trust, global figures on those seeking help with problem gambling remain "very small and very stable".
On the other hand, Andy Todd, counselling services manager of a gambling treatment body, RCA Trust, said more young people were looking for help with gambling issues, and that the reason for this is increased accessibility to gambling.