People have a notion that Britain has a massive gambling problem. All evidence shows that its not the case. Every so often the tabloids in the uk have an outbreak of ‘feigned moral outrage’ on this subject. One does not realise that these newspapers and broadcasters give massive coverage to the one thing that encourages gambling, the National Lottery.
The National Lottery started in 1994, and the first balls fell which changed Britain, overnight it became acceptable to be able to indulge in gambling, the people felt it was their national duty play at the lottery to help the many good causes. There is no doubt that lots of people ae gambling not only on the lotto, but also at horse racing, bingo and casinos.
A survey conducted by the Scottish Health has surprisingly shown that problem gambling is not increasing , but in fact that it is decreasing. In eh 2014 Survey they found that 65% of adults aged between 16 and over had spent money on a gambling activity during the 12 months before the interview. The figure in 2013 was 66% and 2012 it was 70%, which showed a decrease over the years.
Scottish government statistics show that one in one hundred adults, 0.8% of adults approx. 36,000 people were problem gamblers. A further 1.5% about 67,000 adults were possibly at risk of gambling problems, this was based on a standard risk questionnaire. These statistics show that about 100,000 should possibly not be having gambling problems, yet the Scottish politicians are seriously considering banning only one form of gambling, the fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from the high streets?
A person in the grip of a gambling addition can only stop if they make the choice no one else can do it for them. In the old days the bookmaker could not stop a person who had a problem throwing their pay packet at them for a bet. These days bookmakers shops have adverts plastered on their walls warning about responsible gambling, and staff in the big chains are encouraged to spot any signs of problem gambling.
Many gambling establishments these also make use of a very useful “self-exclusion” scheme in which gamblers who realise that they have a problem will volunteer to be excluded.
It must be noted that with some people there is nothing in the world that bookmakers can do to stop people who are determined to bet, even if a gambler has self-excluded themselves at the betting shops, they are tempted and often do go online to place bets.
The big bookmakers have reacted to the criticism and they have halved their maximum stakes on FOBTs to £50, which is a responsible approach and more is being done to address the issues of problem gambling and FOBTs. The bookmakers are not ignoring the problem and they see that education as an excellent tool to combatting gambling problems, therefore it is suggested that they give the bookmakers of FOBT’s the benefit of the doubt.
It is pointed out that by banning FOBT’s from the high street,thousands will lose their jobs, and determined problem gamblers will just go over the border to England or go online.
Other issues the Scottish Government must realise that the unions will say that the government is being reactionary and repressive, and that they attack adult freedoms over a perceived problem, which might be nowhere near as bad as has been claimed, and there is no independent research being done on the subject.