Gambling seems to be becoming a more serious issue for students at British universities lately. According to information provided by the UK Gambling Commission, over 100,000 students have debts due to their gambling habits, with one in four of those having debts which exceed £10,000.
Tackling gambling addiction and gambling-related harm, however, is not as easy as it may seem. The Internet has made things much easier for gamblers, providing them with literally endless opportunities when it comes to gambling. In addition, online bookmakers have been using targeted adverts in an attempt to attract more people, while players who have used the self-exclusion option have still been able to access their accounts.
According to some data, there are approximately 156,000 problem gamblers aged 16 to 24 in the UK, while those under 16 are about 25,000 with their number constantly growing. Considering the fact that children are often more susceptible to aggressive gambling advertising due to the fact that they are more impressionable and vulnerable. Meanwhile, the support provided to such individuals have often been insufficient and rarely exceeds traditional counselling, with the problem becoming even more serious by the fact that gambling addiction is not so easily recognised.
The competent authorities have not been so interested in making sure that such people are provided with the professional help they actually need, and many clinics which offer help for problem gamblers mostly rely on donations from the UK gambling industry. Some anti-gambling campaigners and charity organisations which specialise in helping problem gamblers deal with their addiction, however, have been asking whether £8 million on an annual basis are enough to treat the negative consequences inflicted by the services provided by a flourishing industry which generates a revenue of about £14 billion a year.
Gambling Addiction Often Remains Hidden
As mentioned above, gambling addiction has often been compared with drug or alcohol addictions, but unlike them, problem gambling is more difficult to spot. Sometimes, years pass before the family members of a certain addict become aware of their gambling habits and the large amounts of money spent to fuel their addiction.
Things seem to be even harder when it comes to students at British universities. The newly-discovered freedom they get at university, the fact that they could easily borrow some money and the ever-present opportunity to place a bet often drag students to the bottom, causing not only academic failure but also bankruptcy and even serious mental health problems.
Some students would lose their student loans due to gambling, as hours of free time during the day give them the chance to stay engaged in such activities, with campaigners warning that such addiction is quickly spreading among more young people. Many students drop out of university and start working full-time in order to pay back their debts, with some of them being unable to stop gambling at the time.
Often, gambling addiction remains hidden, with friends and family of the person is suffering from the negative consequences remaining unaware of the problem.