A major study has found that gambling addiction in Britain is on the rise. The results coincide with the introduction of a controversial new gambling legislation.
The results of the Gambling Prevalence Study, to be published this month, will increase pressure on authorities to crack down on sites that target young or vulnerable users.
The investigation was commissioned two years ago as a follow up to a 1999 study which found relatively low levels of addiction in the UK. But this time researchers say they have found a significant increase in problem gambling, with a particularly steep rise in online betting. This confirms other research which has found a sharp rise in online gambling.
These studies indicate there are now nearly a million regular online gamblers in the UK, accounting for almost a third of the European total. On average, individuals spend about Â£1,000 a year on their habit, which means that gamblers now spend more than Â£1bn a year online.
The Culture, Media and Sport Secretary James Purnell last month urged industry representatives not to run TV advertisements for online gambling services before 9pm.
The new law sets out rules for the registration and licensing of online gambling companies in Britain which also allows them to advertise on television.
Church releases Gambling Act guide
The Salvation Army and Methodist Church have released a new booklet entitled ‘Against the odds… ?’ explaining the Gambling Act 2005 to its followers. A Methodist Church spokesperson called the document a ‘Christian response’ to the issues for people wishing to know more about gambling legislation in the UK.