A newly published study indicated that only 3% of gambling addicts in the UK receive suitable help. This study clearly indicates the seriousness of the addiction and its strong effects on social relationships, mental health, and jobs.
In addition, many experts believe that the current treatment system has many flaws. Also, the British regulations are lenient with gambling sites because they pay millions in taxes and create thousands of jobs!
Statistics issued by the National Treatment Service revealed that only 9,000 people received health care until the beginning of April 2020. This is equivalent to only 3% of the total addicts. This percentage may be much lower considering that not all addiction cases are monitored by the UKGC.
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Furthermore, there is a clear inconsistency in the statistics. For instance, in 2018, NHS Digital made a study that concluded that there were 300,000 addicts in the UK. While another survey conducted by YouGov revealed that there are 1.4 addicts.
For her part, Director of Mental Health in NHS England, Claire Murdoch, explained that there is no shortage of clinics that provide psychological support to addicts. However, what we are facing is the addictive psyche that refuses treatment from the ground up! Therefore, the problem is not primarily related to the regulatory decisions or the online casinos but is mainly related to the player's will. So, the focus of regulators must be directed to strengthening the weak will of the players.
Ms Murdoch commented on the report, saying it was “an invitation to think about the online gambling industry from another point of view and assess the damage it has caused to players.”
Exorbitant Debts of Gambling Addiction
The percentage of the 9,000 who received treatment was a treasure for researchers! Since they were able to conduct much research on them to find out the effects of gambling addiction.
45% of people who receive treatment have more than $6,000 in debt, or have already gone into bankruptcy! On average, they spent more than $3,000 on gambling during the month before receiving treatment. As for social harms, a quarter said they had lost at least one relationship due to gambling. While 12% had lost their job due to problem gambling.
In addition, the report found that 60% of people who received treatment see improvement. However, 40% still have problems even after the treatment period ends.
Are Industry Support Schemes Really Helpful?
Many researchers believe that the support programmes offered by the industry players are not helpful! Because they aim at getting the gambler back in the game.
Gambling With Lives is one of the Church Fathers charities’ which provide psychological support to gambling addicts from a religious point of view. “There are many who commit suicide because they fail to get rid of their gambling addiction. So, we need responsible support that never aims to get gamblers back to the casino”. says Will Prochaska, CEO of this organization.
The agency responsible for receiving help requests from addicts is GamCare which is operated by GambleAware.
GambleAware is completely independent and funded by the industry itself. In fact, it does not seek, in all of its treatment programmes, to prevent gamblers from ever returning to gambling but only to help them to “healthy gamble”.
Why Don't Addicts Ask For Help?
Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones believes that the current target should be curing at least 10% of all UK addicts. He said: “Something is stopping them from seeking support. So, we must do everything we can to gain their trust”.
Among the people who requested support, 75% are men in their twenties and thirties. The report said that there is an increased demand from women for care services, with a rate of 25% through the end of 2020.
60% of the addicts said that the main reason for their addiction was making a huge profit so early and keep trying again throughout their journey.
On the other hand, 13% reported that they were not gambling at all. However, they were influenced by the habits of other people close to them.
What are the most addictive games?
Online slots are the most addictive games, followed by sports betting, while fixed slots machines are in third place. The UKGC has refused to impose a new tax on gambling sites to fund research and support agencies because they already get a lot of money from them.