Gambling addiction increasing in U.K; the story of a former addict

Gambling is a double edged sword, it can provide joy and satisfaction when the gambler walks away with a prize, however, if one is not carefully, it will lead one to a road of regrets, losses, time wastage, and financial ruin in the long run. To many addicts, they only get to address their addiction problems when it is too late in the day. The sadden fact is that despite the numerous campaigns to sensitize members of the public on the dangers of too much gambling, statistics indicate that the number of people addicted to gambling is increasing at an unprecedented rate.


The story of Simon Murphy:

After two decades of serious gambling, Simon Murphy could not take it any-more. One spring afternoon, the 42 yearly old went to where he had called “home” to a betting shop in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, United kingdom and simply told a member of staff that he wanted to “self-exclude.”Self-exclude in a gambling lingo used by gamblers when asking bookmakers to close their account and stop taking their money.

Before taking this decision, Murphy, told his wife what he had been hiding from here for over a decade-“he was an addict”

More than £100,000 lost:

Murphy estimates that since he stated gambling, he has “lost” more than £100,000. Now more than a year later since he took this bold decision, Murphy is still wandering what really took him down this road that nearly made him lost his soul to the gambling industry.

Not an isolated incident:

Murphy story is just one in many addicts’ stories out there. According to a recent survey done to estimate the number of gambling addicts in the United Kingdom, the report established that there are 450,000 people who are gambling addicts! The saddening part of the statistics is that the numbers are still rising. The number of gambling addicts rose to 0.9% percent in 2010 up from 0.6% in 2007. In addition, a further 3.5 million people were listed to be in the group of vulnerable. This means that if this is not unchecked, the number of gambling addicts will cross the million mark in the next few years to come.

Call for legislation:

To prevent many people from falling prey to the gambling industry, there is need for legislation to legislate laws to prevent casinos from being established in areas where the people are most vulnerable to falling prey to gambling. Grasp, an independent group formed by former gambling addicts has launched a campaign known as “High Streets first” which is pressuring the government to allow councils from preventing the formation of betting shops form being established in poor areas. One of the main reasons for the influx of betting shops is because of the fact that by their very nature, they are classified as financial and professional services in the same category as banks and real estate agents. This means that they can be opened in a building that housed one such organization without the need for special permission from the authorities.

Treating gambling as an illness:

The rise in gambling cases has led to the establishment of a clinic to specifically deal with the problem of gambling addiction. Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones the brain-child behind the clinic says that there is need to recognize addiction as an illness rather than a strong compulsion. Dr. Henrietta, hope that if this is well addressed, more people will turn out for treatment and hence the number of cases of gambling addiction both online and offline will be reduced.



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