For many in the UK, gambling addiction is a devastating affliction that has to be contended with daily. Those affected suffer from an uncontrollable urge to bet because they are addicted to the thrill of gambling.
Some people are addicted to online gaming and spend many hours each day online, pouring all of their available funds into their betting accounts in the hopes of winning big. However, others are addicted to playing fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which are located in almost every betting shop around the country.
These FOBTs allow punters to place bets of up to £100 per spin, with some individuals losing thousands of pounds at a time. Campaigners have called on the Government to limit the maximum spin to £2 to reduce the amount of money that can be lost.
The Government has rejected proposals to reduce the maximum spin on FOBTs, leaving some people flabbergasted. Ninety-three councils across England and Wales called for the Government to reduce the spin limit to £2, but this was rejected, with the Government saying that the controls already in place were adequate. Unsurprisingly, the gambling industry backed the Government, saying that there is very little evidence to suggest that reducing these high stakes would stop individuals becoming addicted.
FOBTs have been in betting shops since 1999, generating around £1.6 billion per year for bookmakers. Each betting shop can have up to four terminals, each with maximum spins set at £100. Across the UK, there are almost 35,000 FOBTs and users require little or no gambling knowledge to play.
It is possible to bet up to £100 every twenty seconds, and while some people have won large sums of cash on these machines, others have lost thousands of pounds, developing addictions in the process.
A BBC report highlights how some people can simply not stay away from these machines, despite losing enormous sums of money. One gambling addict told of how he had lost between £400,000 and £500,000 of money that he inherited from his mother on gambling machines. He also spoke of how he now only has his pension to live on and how he spends most of that on gambling, leaving himself struggling every week. He says his addiction is making him ill.
The man, who asked not to be identified, said that he started playing the machines when he saw others winning big sums. He said that in the beginning he was not too bothered whether he played them or not, but he soon became addicted and now spends all available funds on them.
Any money that he does win will be put back into the machines until he is left with nothing again. He said, “Each time I have a winner, it gives me a boost. I might lose on the next spin and then if I win on the following one, that is a boost again. I keep on thinking I’m going to get my money back, plus a bit.”
However, he admitted that this never happens.
Michael O’Grady, a former gambling addict, spoke of his addiction to FOBTs and says that he got to the stage where he was not gambling to win money but rather for the high it offered. He believes he had lost around £150,000 before he realised he had to get help.
A gambling addiction can devastate the lives and those affected typically need professional help to overcome their demons. Rehab Helper can assist those suffering from addiction by putting them in touch with a suitable organisation from which they can access the treatments they need to get better. If you or a loved one needs help for addiction, contact Rehab Helper today.