The Church of Scotland has said the Government must take urgent action in responding to a report showing an increase of problem gamblers.
Rev Ian Galloway, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, along with other denominations and faith groups across the UK shared their concerns following the publication of the Gambling Commission 2010 Prevalence Study’s findings today.
The study shows there has been a small increase in the overall number of people gambling and the number of people classed as problem gamblers has risen.
Mr Galloway said: “The increased opportunities for gambling, a 24-hour culture in casinos and online, and the ubiquitous gaming machines offering solitary and repetitive distraction all make an increase in the numbers of people developing gambling related problems inevitable.
“As we have seen in the banking crisis, a society that approves of undeserved rewards for reckless behaviour will end up with a lot of human casualties. It is time the trend was reversed and the vulnerable offered more protection.”
The report commissioned every three years showed that in 2007, 68 percent of people gambled, compared to 73 percent in 2010. It is estimated that there are between 360,000 to 450,000 problem gamblers in the UK, compared to 284,000 in 2007.
Although only comprising 4 percent of gambling activity the use of gaming machines only allowed in betting shops were cited in a quarter of the calls to the gambling helpline.
The report found that problem gamblers are more likely to be young men, in poor health and have a family history of gambling.
Notes to News Desks:
For interview requests with Rev Ian Galloway, please telephone Nick Jury, Senior Media Relations Officer, Communications Department of the Church of Scotland, on 0131 240 2268.
Tuesday, 15th February, 2011