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?
"Gambling is on the increase, there’s little doubt about that. The liberalisation of gambling over last few years has been very considerable indeed. It's an international phenomenon but Britain has taken a big part in that...
...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.
Despite these alarming figures, the only specialist problem clinic available on the NHS is the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London.
“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...
...Wales should have some kind of centre to ensure we are dealing with the casualties of gambling addictions.”
Paul Flynn MP.
Last year 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.