Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Problem Gamblers Are More Likely To Commit Suicide, GambleAware Says

Gambling Addiction

Problem gamblers are much more likely to commit suicide, a new study has revealed.

A new study conducted by UK gambling charity GambleAware has revealed that problem gamblers are six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. They’re also 15 times more likely to attempt to take their own life.

According to The Guardian, the high-risk remained in problem gamblers even after receiving treatment for other contributing factors linked to suicidal thoughts. This includes depression, drug abuse and financial problems. Without these factors, researchers found that gambling addicts are still three times more likely to attempt suicide.

GambleAware’s study discovered that around 19% of problem gamblers had considered suicide compared to just 4.1% of the general population. Meanwhile, around 4.7% of those questioned had attempted suicide compared to 0.6% of the general population.

The study used data from a survey of gamblers in the UK from 2007 and the report’s findings have now sparked a call for the UK government to do more to help and protect problem gamblers.

Reactions To The Study

Dr Heather Wardle, the study’s co-author and the assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said in a statement: “The harms from gambling are profound and can be devastating for individuals, families and communities. These results show how people with gambling problems are a higher risk group for suicidality.

“The people on the frontline of dealing with this high-risk group are the industry, who need to think about how they train staff potentially having interactions with suicidal people. They need to ensure those staff will put the wellbeing of people above profit.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “Every suicide is a tragedy, and we are absolutely committed to protecting vulnerable people from the risks of gambling-related harm. We secured a series of commitments from five leading gambling operators that will see a 10-fold increase in funding towards treatment and support for problem gamblers.”

“In the past year, we have also introduced a wave of tougher measures to protect vulnerable people, including cutting the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling, and expanding national specialist support through the NHS long-term plan.”

A Crackdown on Gambling

The news comes as the UK Government and regulatory body the UK Gambling Commission tighten restrictions on gambling in an effort to reduce gambling harm and addictions. Gambling firms across the country recently pledged to increase funding and support for addicts.

Meanwhile, the UK Government has been considering raising the age limit to play National Lottery games from 16 to 18 to prevent underage gambling, and Paddy Power recently launched a new campaign calling for sports betting operators to end football shirt sponsorships.

Back in May, the charity GambleAware announced they were planning on investing £3.9 million to help fight gambling addictions. The news came just days after the UK Gambling Commission introduced new age and verification rules that require new users to verify their identity, address and source of funds after registering at an online casino.