Gambling 'Can Badly Damage Your Health'; STUDY REVEALS LINK TO DRUG AND ALCOHOL ADDICTIONS

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Byline: PAUL WAUGH;REBECCA SMITH

GAMBLING is bad for your health and leads to drug addiction, alcoholism and depression, new research reveals.

Teenagers in particular are vulnerable to the addictive behaviour associated with gambling, experts say. This can lead to other psychological problems.

US researchers found 16- and 17-year-olds had higher rates of alcohol and drug use and addiction if they gambled.

A similar trend was seen among young adults aged 18 to 29 who had been gambling since their early teens.

Higher rates of alcohol use were also observed in those who began gambling as adults.

The research - by medical scientists from Yale University, and published in the Archives of General Psychiatry - comes as a further blow to the British Government's plans to allow Las Vegas-style mega-casinos.

Tony Blair and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell have stressed that one of the driving forces behind their new Gambling Bill is the need to protect children from slot machines.

But the Yale University team, which was led by Dr Wendy Lynch, found that: " Adolescentonset gambling is associated with more severe psychiatric problemsparticularly substance use disorders, in adolescents and young adults. …