On 10th October Jim Orford spoke to BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours about gambling problems. This was following on from a report which was recently published by the national organisation GamCare saying that there are an increasing number of younger people amongst the clients of their services for people with gambling problems.
It has long been known that young people are particularly vulnerable to problem gambling which is really important because, not only can it be very distressing for the people concerned and for their families, and can significantly interfere with normal psychological development and transition to adulthood, but it is also well established that the earlier in life people start to gamble the higher the risk they run of having problems with gambling later on in life. There has also been a recent Young People Omnibus Survey, sponsored by the National Lottery Commission, which surveyed several thousand 11 to 15-year-olds and found, amongst other things, worrying levels of children playing ‘free’ or ‘practice’ online gambling via social network sites, on smart phones and tablets.
Meanwhile, followers of England's World Cup qualifying football matches will have noticed that the betting industry has managed to persuade the government that the rule prohibiting television gambling advertising before the 9 PM watershed need not apply when the relevant sporting event is being shown. Hence millions of children and young people will have been exposed to gambling advertising while watching these high profile matches in their own homes. Jim has been campaigning, via his website www.gamblingwatchuk.org and in other ways, for greater awareness of these issues, for a fuller public debate about the role of gambling in society, and for greater availability of treatment and help for people with gambling problems and their families.