Thanks to the Lotto and scratch cards and online casinos, more women than ever before are developing a gambling problem.
According to government figures, 60% of adults in the UK spend up to £50 per month gambling at the betting shop or on Lotto. As the result of changes coming shortly, the amount spent in this country per year is expected to go up from the current £42 billion to £60 billion.
30 million people regularly buy UK Lotto tickets in the second largest of the 192 lotteries across the world. And despite official figures telling us that a mere 1% of these have developed out of control gambling habits, Gamblers Anonymous are finding that they’ve had an increase of 17% in calls for help. GamCare has also seen an increase in requests for their counseling service.
Women have always dominated the Bingo scene, where they outnumber men, 70% to 30%. The average age is under 50 and the average spend for a night (including food and drinks) is £20.
Women tend not to visit casinos and betting shops, and favour on-line gambling instead where they have the perception of its being safer, less intimidating, more fun, more tempting and where they can remain anonymous.
As they are seduced by the escapism of on-line shopping, developing an internet gambling addiction, as they are encouraged by the on-line sites to create alternative realities: a different identity; and play along with the fantasy that it’s not real money they’re playing with.
There are something like 1700 gambling websites, including casinos, bingo halls, lotteries. Something to meet everyone’s tastes. And of course, they’re open 24 hours a day.
As says Lysette Offley of Sounds Positive in Henley on Thames, where hypnotherapy for gambling addiction is used: We’re fast approaching a time when the number of people in the UK with broadband access to the internet will overtake those still on dial-up, so access and availability to on-line gambling is increasing. Not surprisingly, problems are expected to increase.”
So what can a person do about it if they feel their habit’s getting out of control?
“Get help now. Don’t let it go on and on,” says Lysette. “There is plenty of professional help available and many ways to stop gambling. I see people regularly who are able to turn their lives around and with just a little help learn how to stop gambling. And of course there are self-help products too which can help enormously. Why would you play the victim of your habit when you really can do something about it?”
Sounds Positive specialises in fully downloadable self-help hypnother