While the word ‘addiction’ conjures up an image of someone drinking too much alcohol or injecting illegal drugs such as heroin in most people’s minds, the reality is that there are more types of addictions than just those relating to mood-altering substances. In fact, a growing number of individuals in the UK are becoming affected by gambling addiction every single day.
Many blame the internet and the surge in technology for this growing problem. Gambling used to be an activity that took place in bingo halls, casinos and betting shops, but with the accessibility of the internet and the enormous number of online gambling sites available, it is now even easier for individuals to gamble at any hour of the day and from the comfort of their own homes.
One of the biggest problems with online gambling is the fact that it is easy to hide a gambling addiction from the rest of the world. There is no need to leave your home to gamble, and it can be done effortlessly from a smartphone or tablet. In fact, one person can be gambling in the same room as the rest of his/her family members without anyone realising what this person is doing.
It is possible to lose thousands of pounds in seconds, and all without anyone else being aware of what is happening. It is easy to see how a gambling addiction can quickly spiral out of control.
However, some people still like to head to their nearest betting shop to feed their habit. Unfortunately, the days of individuals just heading to their nearest betting shop to place a bet on a football accumulator or horse race of the day are gone.
Gambling firms are taking advantage of the fact that many people are drawn in by casino-style games and are likely to bet big on games such as roulette, poker, blackjack and slot machines. These games are now available to play on betting machines placed in almost every betting shop around the country. And sadly, these machines are responsible for a huge number of people developing devastating addictions that threaten to destroy their lives.
Betting machines are capable of spinning three times every minute. However, the fact that the maximum spin limit is set at £100 means that gamblers are capable of losing £300 every minute or £1500 in just five minutes!
Campaigners have been calling for the Government to do more to regulate these machines and to look at imposing a much lower maximum spin limit of £2. Nevertheless, so far, these calls have gone unanswered, and many believe it is because of the money these machines generate in taxes.
However, campaigners believe that betting machines are a blight on society and are leaving the vulnerable at risk.
Lubomir Kroscen is a gambling addict who was banned from an amusement arcade in Ipswich after flying into a rage and damaging a betting machine. He caused £1,000 worth of damage to the machine after losing his temper when he was asked to leave. He was known to staff at the arcade as being a gambling addict, and the decision was made to ask him to leave. Nonetheless, because he had already lost money on the machine and felt he was not being given a chance to win it back, he punched the machine and smashed the screen.
He had previously sought counselling for his addiction and arranged for himself to be banned from all the bookmakers in Ipswich. He was ordered to pay compensation for the damage to the machine and costs.
Kroscen’s reaction is not uncommon; there have been many reports of gambling addicts losing their temper and lashing out against betting machines and staff. This type of action often occurs after a significant loss.
The problem with a gambling addiction is that most people who have this illness convince themselves that a big win is just around the corner. Many see gambling as a solution to their problems and believe that if they just get that ‘big win’, everything will be okay.
Most fail to see that it is the gambling that has caused much of their problems in the first place. Gambling addicts often have mounting debts because they cannot stop gambling. Even when their available funds have dried up, they will borrow from lending companies, friends and family members. They often struggle to repay these debts, and many get to the point where they will lose everything, including their home.
Some will resort to criminal activities in a bid to get their hands on the money they need to continue gambling. There have been many news stories in recent times of gambling addicts facing many years behind bars for fraud or theft. Unfortunately, there have also been stories of gambling addicts who have taken their own lives as a result of their illness.
Source: Ipswich gambling addict banned from amusement arcade after damaging machine (Ipswich Star)
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