Thursday, September 15, 2005

Debt warning over Online Gambling

Internet gambling sites such as online casinos will further increase the UK’s consumer debt problem, a debt advice group warned yesterday.

The Debt Advisor said it was already seeing people who had run up large debts through the sites, some of whom owed more than £100,000.

The group said unlike traditional casinos where there is a cash culture, online gambling relied on credit cards, and once someone had registered they could play for as long as their credit limit allowed, without having to break off to get more money.
The group believes this is the main reason people who come to it for help have run up such high levels of debt through online gambling.

Bev Budsworth, of The Debt Advisor, said:

“There has always been a certain proportion of debt problems due to gambling but the internet allows people to run up debts much more easily and much faster.

With online gaming you can play 24 hours a day in the privacy of your own home. There’s no need to set foot in a betting shop so there’s no stigma attached.

She added that many online gamblers followed the traditional pattern of trying to chase their debts, betting more and more heavily in an increasingly desperate attempt to win back money they had lost, often using multiple credit cards and running each one up to its limit.

Government figures show that the amount of money spent on gambling in the UK has more than quadrupled in recent years, rising from just £8.6 billion in 2001 to £42.8 billion last year.

Ms Budsworth said:

“As well as the proliferation of internet sites, it’s worrying that gambling appears to be getting a more glamorous image, with poker in particular being presented as a celebrity pastime and television programmes devoted to the game.

The increasing amount of money spent on gambling could lead to a rise in consumer debt nationwide and debt misery for many more households."


Related Links from My Gibraltar Directory:

Gam-Anon - The UK fellowship for those affected by compulsive gambling

Gamblers Anonymous in the UK

Gamblers Anonymous International Service Office

Gamcare Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling help and support

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