Addiction is an illness that affects millions of people around the world. In many instances, addiction will refer to a persons inability to control his or her alcohol consumption or drug taking, but addiction is not limited to substance abuse. In fact, addiction to gambling has become a massive problem here in the UK.
While most individuals can gamble sensibly and in moderation, some will become obsessed with the thrill and anticipation of betting to the point where it takes over their lives. Their relationships may begin to suffer and as they get deeper and deeper, they will inevitably end up with mounting debt that they cannot afford to pay.
One of the biggest problems with a gambling addiction is that it can be easily hidden from others. There are very rarely any physical symptoms of this illness but the consequences can be devastating and far-reaching. Family members and friends often suffer dramatically when a loved one develops an addiction to gambling. Lives can be ripped apart; in light of this, many feel more needs to be done to tackle the problem.
Growing Health Concern
In fact, the issue is becoming so problematic in parts of Scotland that teachers are being trained to help address problem gambling in the classroom. Shocking research in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire revealed that nine per cent of youngsters between the ages of eleven and sixteen were already classed as problem gamblers. Another fifteen per cent were classed as at risk.
With gaming sites created to appeal to youngsters, there is a growing number who are becoming addicted. As a result, anti-addiction charity Fast Forward will be training teachers across Scotland in a bid to tackle the issue. The number of children developing a problem gambling habit in Scotland is much higher than the national average, which stands at two per cent; unsurprisingly, it has been labelled as a growing health concern.
Fast Forward plans to train teachers to inform their students about gambling and how it works. Students will be taught about the law of averages and how this, coupled with luck, affects their chances of winning. They will also be taught about problem gambling and the consequences arising from it.
According to Chiara Marin, who is a Fast Forward senior development officer, Problem gambling is not a new problem however, with young people its often hidden and it may go unrecognised. Our training may help teachers become aware of a growing social issue.
Training will attempt to assist students when it comes to protecting themselves against the dangers of problem gambling by helping them to make informed choices.
President of the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association, Euan Duncan, said that gambling addiction is a growing problem among older teenagers, and added, There is no doubt that some online gambling games are designed to be seriously addictive. Teenagers tend to have very low incomes and the lure of a big win could lead vulnerable young people to become mired in debt and indulge in further risky behaviour.
Gambling websites often entice individuals with their colourful animated graphics and mini-games, where players are guaranteed a win if they spin three special images. The promise of big wins and free bets is often enough to get many hooked.
Sadly, lots of children are already aware of these gambling sites, and as long as they can access a bank account and the internet via a mobile device, they are good to go. They can easily set up an account by lying about the year of their birth.
However, it is not just children who are falling foul to gambling sites; many adults with money troubles are developing addictions to gambling. They start off thinking that a big win will solve all their problems but, before long, they cannot stop gambling, even when they do win. It becomes more about the act of gambling than the actual win.