A Nation of Gambling Addicts ; Exclusive: Teenagers and Women at Risk, Warn Doctors
Sophie Goodchild; Ian Griggs, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Britain is heading towards a gambling epidemic, leading doctors will warn this week, with women and teenagers at greatest risk of addiction.
A major report from the British Medical Association is expected to say there is an urgent need for more treatment services, with the number of women gamblers expected to equal that of male punters within 20 years as gambling becomes more female-friendly.
The verdict from experts on the BMA's board of science, to be published on Tuesday, will also warn that children are at increased risk of becoming gambling addicts with the liberalisation of gaming. They are calling for more research to understand the causes of gambling addiction, for the gaming industry to contribute more towards treatment and for more targeted services.
There are an estimated 300,000 problem gamblers in the UK, but the BMA predicts the figure will rise with an overhaul of the gaming laws this autumn. The Gambling Act will lift entry restrictions on casinos and bingo halls and allow TV advertising for casinos.
The report comes ahead of an announcement later this month on the location of Britain's first Las Vegas-style supercasino. Eight cities have been shortlisted for the casino but another 16 licences will also be granted for smaller casinos.
The BMA says gambling addiction is a low priority for the NHS, behind drugs and alcohol. It issued a warning last year of an explosion in gambling addiction because of the rise of internet gambling and the introduction of supercasinos. …