Two million Britons are 'problem' or 'at risk' gamblers

Gambling Commission says more needs to be done to tackle rising addiction level

Gaming chips at Blackpool's Fylde College Gaming School
(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

More than two million people in Britain have been classed as "problem" or "at-risk" gamblers by the Gambling Commission.

The regulator that licences the gambling industry in the UK has found that 63 per cent of British adults gambled in the past year. Of these, 400,000 were classed as problem gamblers. One in 50 British men between the ages of 16 to 34 was identified as having a fully-blown gambling addiction, while 3.9 per cent of the total population were deemed at-risk.

According to the Big Issue,"problem gambling is now widely recognised as a clinical addiction, a pursuit that can lead to poverty and ruins lives".

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Those betting online are at highest risk of developing a gambling addiction, the regulator found, while scratch cards and the lottery represented the lowest threat level.

Unemployment was found to be one of the biggest factors influencing gambling habits: 10.1 per cent of problem and at-risk gamblers without work. Only 4.6 per cent of those with a gambling problem were found to be in employment, self-employed or in full-time government training.

The figures have "sparked calls for the government to do more to try and tackle problem gambling, not just for the sake of the individuals involved but for those affected by their behaviour", says the Birmingham Mail.

They come at a bad time for the government, which has been criticised for its decision to delay a report into Fixed Odds Betting terminals, dubbed the "crack cocaine" of betting.

The Guardian reports that campaigners have "urged the government to crack down on controversial FOBTs, which allow punters to bet £100 every 20 seconds, and limit the spread of gambling adverts on television".

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