According to the Office of National Statistics, more than a quarter of people (26%) in the North East said they had gambled in the past week. 57% had gambled at least once in the last 12 months, the highest amount in the UK, where the national average was 41%.
Gambling is becoming a problem all over the country, however it has a bigger impact in poorer areas and betting culture is intertwined with sport. In Sunderland, the football club is the heart of the city and many people place bets on their games. With over 20 different betting chains to choose from in the UK, gambling is readily available to them.
We went down to the Stadium of light on a match day to get the opinions of the fans. See their responses in the link below:
Most people were not in favour of gambling big money but willing to gamble small amounts. Betting is actively encouraged at matches: the crowd are bombarded with gambling adverts, with Betdaq being a prominent kit sponsor of Sunderland AFC.
Problem gambling starts subtly because, like those at the Sunderland game, people believe that it is okay to put a small bet on at first, but this can easily snowball out of control.
We spoke to Mark Walsh, head counsellor at Lighthouse Therapy Group, Sunderland. Mark told us how easy it is to get addicted and the help and support available for addicts and ex-addicts. In the clip below, he discusses how the main concepts of gambling can be introduced to younger people through gaming:
Children and adults play games on mobiles such as Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, which have in-app purchases which people can use to gamble on valuable items such as a ‘boost’ or a ‘level up’.
FIFA, Call of Duty and Star Wars Battlefront have also got in-game mechanics where players have to spend in-game money or real money to get the chance to level up or get an upgrade. This led to an investigation by the Federal trade commission in America over false advertising and encouraging children to gamble.
Simon Stevens, the Director of North East addicts, said:
“The first thing to recognise is who’s in control of this? Is it the gambling or is it myself? Is it creating chaos in my life.”
One gambler made sure he stopped gambling by getting himself barred from all bookies in the Sunderland area, this is made possible by a form that can be filled out online or on the premises.
For more information about gambling addiction click the link here