Who’s at risk of gambling addiction?
Anyone is at risk of developing a gambling addiction. However, some groups of people are more likely to develop gambling problems.
In recent years a number of sportspeople have openly admitted to having gambling problems and numerous others have secret gambling habits. Gambling is big business amongst elite sports stars and they have plenty of cash to throw at it. In reality, however, they may appear to have a lot more money than they actually do and a gambling habit can quickly eat into their monthly wage, however large it is.
Many people associate a natural competitiveness in athletes with an increased likelihood to gamble. Many sports stars have an innate need to win, meaning they will continue to gamble until they win, which may be after they have already lost a considerable amount of money. Another reason for the prevalence of gambling problems amongst sportsmen is the culture of some professional sports. Many of the players like to go out together, place some bets or go to a casino for the evening, for example, and a weekly or monthly night out can quickly turn into an addiction because the adrenaline rush associated with gambling is so strong.
Sports fans are also more likely to develop gambling problems, especially if they socialise with a group of friends who also like to place a few bets now and again. In recent years, the betting market has boomed and the introduction of internet sites means that betting is accessible 24 hours a day. Many channels also advertise betting websites before and during major sporting events and fans may be tempted to place a bet because they can do it quickly and easily without leaving the house. Many sports teams are now sponsored by gambling organisations and this may also encourage fans to gamble.
In recent years, the number of young people who have gambling problems has also increased. This may be due to hardship caused by the recession but experts claim it is mainly due to the internet. A huge number of sites now offer online games, sports betting, TV betting, bingo, poker and a whole host of other games and people can spend hours in front of the computer without realising how much time or money they have spent.
Recent years have also seen an increase in the number of women with gambling problems. Recently, a vast number of websites have been launched, which target women and encourage them to play games, such as bingo, online. For many women, who stay at home for long periods of time and don’t have a job, the online games give them something to do and they start to make friends online and gambling becomes a huge part of their life. Many sites also offer free bets and incentives to encourage people to gamble more often.