Gambling seems to be getting the better of everyone, and those who are most at risk are the young ones who are at an impressionable age and find it easier to get addicted to the game.
The focus of preventive measures is on children and "the vulnerable" and interestingly is being designed and put into action by gambling businesses and their licensors. By the month of April, local risk assessments will be done on all physical gambling outlets. The same will be done in order to understand the potential impact on the vulnerable.
Along with this, local authorities will be deciding their policies and figuring who wall will fit in the definition of "vulnerable", thus requiring protection from the full marketing power of the gambling sector. This group should include the unemployed or those with mental health problems. These two points are to fulfil a clause in the Gambling Act 2005.
Some councils, if they are unable to produce a detailed policy, which puts together exactly what they want, they will take the minimal approach. These councils will be in a weak spot and might find it difficult to negotiate with betting shops and other gambling organisations until 2019, which is the year their policies will be reviewed again.
Heather Wardle, who is the head of the Gambling & Place Research Hub at the consultancy Geofutures said that a lot depends on each local authority and how much of a problem it will pose for the people living in that area.
We can see Westminster and Manchester councils taking stricter action. This is done by commissioning Geofutures who will help them make detailed maps of their areas that highlight gambling outlets.
Research done by the Gambling Commission shows that kids between 16 and 24-years are twice as vulnerable to the problem of gambling when compared to the overall population. While 7 per cent of men in general are at risk, 16 per cent is the proportion for men between the ages 16 and 24. Elaine Smethurst at the Gordon Moody Association, notes that many of her clients began gambling at a very young age.
If you are concerned about your near and dear ones and think they might easily pick up the habit, Ms Smethurst speaks of time and money and how both are important to make an addict out of a man. She says it is not difficult to pick up on clues such as when a family man doesn’t have the money and yet they ought to because they are working.
The way out is to seek help actively. The thing about gambling addiction is that it is so powerful that the huge number of people in a spot like this will have a hard time keeping their hands in their pockets. The problem become more difficult to handle in the case where games have reached people’s smartphones.
It is important to protect children, however, by making the training staff ask for age proof, to ensure everyone is well over 18 years.