The National Health Service is prepared to open doors for underaged gamblers to help fight addiction, The Guardian reports. Why is this necessary and what the clinic is going to do? Read on to find out.
The problem with gambling in the UK
Gambling is a fun activity and millions enjoy it. From placing a bet while watching a game in a pub to taking part in a poker tournament, gambling gives people the thrill they lack in their daily lives.
A huge portion of the UK population gambles. The UK Gambling Commission shows numbers as high as 51% of men and 41% of women who participate in some form of gambling at least once a month. Men spend a lot more than women, and sometimes this spendings goes unhinged.
While the overwhelming majority of gamblers can control their spending, some people can’t. UKGC says as much as 450,000 people in the country are addicted to gambling. Many of them end up spending so much they drive themselves in debt.
Out of those 450,00 addicts, 55,000 are children. Even though underage gambling is prohibited, and rightly so, many kids find ways to access gambling venues and websites to play. Since most of them don’t have money of their own, gambling can lead to petty theft.
The government regulations
The UK government acknowledges the issue and approaches the question with scientific precision. Instead of issuing a ban on gambling, they have banned advertising to minors online. The Commission monitors the web to find violators, and recently it has led to ads that could be targeting minors taken down.
Opening a clinic that treats gambling disorder is yet another step in their anti-addiction policies.
The industry reacts
The gambling industry received a wake-up call from the government, and now they’re doing their best to prevent underage gambling and help treat gambling addiction cases.
Top performers of the industry have agreed to stop advertising during sports events because kids could see it. This is a major step to improve safety in gambling since this type of advertising brings in a lot of sales.
The industry giants also pay a voluntary levy to funds that handle gambling addiction research and prevention. Recently, they have increased this levy to £100 million a year, at 1% of their revenue. The opening of this clinic is partly made possible because of this huge contribution.
The reason people get addicted to gambling
Like many other pleasant things in life, gambling can get you addicted. However, few regular people will develop an addiction just because gambling feels good. Normally, people understand there’s only so much you can win, and stop gambling after they’ve lost too much.
However, those who struggle with depression or other mental health problems can use gambling as a way to escape reality and distract themselves from their problems. It’s these people who can’t control themselves and end up destroying their own families.
The new NHS clinic is designed to nip the problem in the bud and help depressed teens cope with their condition and not rely on gambling to solve their problems.