Wales This Week, Against the Odds?

From bingo to the bookies, from the casino to the Lotto, traditional opportunities for a flutter have never been far away; but is there a danger that technology is making gambling too tempting?

You can now bet on-line, and on your smartphone anytime of the day and night and some experts are concerned that it could lead to more problem gamblers.

Wales This Week, 'Against the Odds?' is now available to watch below:

Gambling is on the increase, there’s little doubt about that. The liberalisation of gambling over last few years has been very considerable indeed. That liberalisation is an international phenomenon but Britain has taken a big part in that. As a result we are certain that the rate of problem gambling has increased. The 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey, suggested a 40 or 50% increase in the prevalence of problem gambling in just three years

– Professor. Jim Orford, University of Birmingham.

Paul Flynn MP is calling for more to be done to help problem gamblers throughout the country. There are said to be approximately 20,000 problem gamblers that could need specialist help in Wales.

We should see gambling addiction like other addictions, and while there are warnings on machines, advising people to go to GamCare for support we don’t have a centre in Wales in order to help poeple who get into serious trouble. I think if we see it as a health problem, as an addiction, that would destroy their lives there is certainly a case that Wales should have some kind of centre to ensure we are dealing with the casualties of gambling addictions

– Paul Flynn MP

At the moment the only specialist problem clinic available on the NHS is the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London.

So if you do have a gambling problem, where can you go for help in Wales?

There are industry-led helplines and charities across Wales, and a helpline at the bottom of this article can help you finding the right kind of help for you in Wales. Last year also saw the launch of a new pilot scheme in Merthyr, Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. It’s based on work by Bristol’s Addiction Recovery Agency. It offers advice and guidance known as early intervention.

We are delighted to have been given this opportunity to expand our range of interventions in Swansea to provide a much needed service for individuals with gambling problems

– Karen Ozzati, Head of Operations, WGCADA

It’s hoped that the pilot scheme and the host of other charities across Wales that already offer support to problem gamblers can lead the way in treating an addiction that can have such a devastating effect on the lives of individuals and their families.

For advice on problem gambling you can contact the GamCare charity.

The GamCare Helpline provides confidential advice, information and emotional support throughout Great Britain to anyone experiencing problems with gambling.

The GamCare number is 0808 8020 133, 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. Please visit their website for further information on calling GamCare. GamCare also offer online support through their confidential NetLine service. For further information on NetLine and the telephone helpline please visit http://www.gamcare.org.uk/

Wales This Week is on Mondays at 8 on ITV Cymru Wales