Gambling Habit Will 'Scar' Britain

Article excerpt

BRITAIN will become a nation of gamblers over the next 20 years, a report warns.

Experts have told the Government that its decision to liberalise betting will create a huge upsurge in the habit, which could make it one of the country's worst addictions.

Its damaging effects could scar society for decades, they said.

The report, by Jim Orford at Birmingham University, also claims that betting online and by new technologies, such as mobile phone text messages, will advance much faster than the law will be able to cope with.

Professor Orford warned that the creation of a supercasino and several regional gambling hubs will have serious long-term implications. In his report, being studied by ministers, he says: 'The problems are not suddenly going to be in the headlines. The effects on families, in particular, do not get much publicity. The Government, strongly pressured by the gaming industry, has gone for a major liberation of gaming and everybody I have spoken to thinks that will increase the number of problem gamblers. …