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Battling Problem Gambling in the US and the UK

Problem gambling is an issue which is widely discussed in the recent years as one of the biggest threats lying ahead of people who are interested in the casino industry. It all begins as a curiosity towards the gambling world, which is a quality many people have. We are intrigued by what the world can offer us and gaming floors are well-known for their power to change people’s lives in a matter of seconds. With the bright lights, the constantly flashing images and vivid animations, a casino venue comes close to a castle of the fortune and the easy money. This is the main reason which attracts so many people to give it a try and see how it is going to work for them.

Many people feel they are lucky and they have some abilities to tell the future, so this is a great way for them to assess their intuition and how good they can predict the color on which the ball is going to stop. It is all fun and games until the player is on a winning streak and feels like they are superhuman. Some people call it beginner’s luck and they are not far from the truth. However, this period of blissful riding the wave is usually followed by the instance of the first loss of money, which acts as a reality check. In their desire to make up for the loss players give their luck a try one more time and this is when the true danger of gambling could present itself. The so-called chasing of losses is bringing them closer to sinking even deeper.

Due to its immersive qualities, gambling can slowly but surely turn into something which the player no longer can control, leading to harmful consequences for both the player, their loved ones and the people around them. It has the potential to affect both male and female casino players, so that nobody is safe or protected by its destructive impact. If a certain person had addictive qualities, meaning there have been instances in their life where they have had even a seemingly mild addiction towards some kind of behavior or activity, this could mean that this person is more likely to become addicted to gambling and bear the effects of it.

UK’s Ongoing Battle against FOBT Addiction

British people are well-known for their elegant way of solving any problems which come up their way and such is the case with the measures which the British government wants to take against problem gambling. In the recent months, the United Kingdom has been shaken by the problematic Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) which have proven to be very addictive among the nation and there are many people who suffer the consequences of their gambling habits. Because these terminals are so popular, the topic of problem gambling is becoming more and more discussed, to the point when the government has no other choice but to come up with measures which to reduce the effect it has on the citizens.

Ladbrokes Coral is one of the leading FOBT operators in the country and they have been objected to massive criticizing in relation to an opinion, that they recently expressed publicly. The Chief Executive Officer of the company announced that the proposed reduction of the minimum stake to £2 is going to affect negatively the company and its revenue, thus leaving many people in their best working years without a job. Strong opposers of gambling were surprised by the statement. Meanwhile, another UK-listed bookmaker, Paddy Power Betfair has agreed to support the reduction of gaming machine stakes which will, in turn, reduce the money players are able to spend on them.

The Issue in the United States

Pathological gambling is widely spread addiction in the United States as well since there are even more opportunities for developing such and there are two of the major gaming hubs in the world – Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Located on the two coasts, they provide people from the opposite ends of the country with the thrill of money winning (and losing). However, a casino venue is not the only place where one could become the victim of their own addictive behavior. Many people find it even easier to gamble online in online poker rooms, as well as to wager on daily fantasy sports since there is no real tangible money being lost, but instead they are betting with their virtual capital.

For example, ever since the state of Iowa legalized casinos within the borders of the state, gambling addiction more than tripled. In Louisiana, only four years were enough for the percentage of gambling addicts to swell to 7 percent of the adults. This might not seem like a considerable figure, but in the long run, it would affect thousands of people, causing even bigger damage to the community. Anytime there is news about a new casino venue launching somewhere, they are always followed by a considerable backlash from gambling opposers who are striving to raise the awareness of the impact problem gambling has on society as a whole.

Ways to Reduce the Gambling Addiction Rates in the US

In order to make a difference and help those who are going through such a rough time in their lives, many states are taking seriously the issue and have already begun the process of regulating their casino industry in a more strict way. The US government has allocated a total amount of $73 million for all services and programs related to problem gambling in 2016 and the amount of money is expected to be even bigger this year. This July saw the 31st edition of the National Conference on Problem Gambling in Portland, Oregon, organized by the National Council on Problem Gambling. On it, various speakers had the chance to present their point of view and experience with gambling addiction, while many people had the chance to educate themselves and receive more information.

The same organization has chosen March as the month of Problem gambling awareness (PGAM) and it aims to stimulate the conversation regarding this issue with national importance. PGAM is aiming to involve the state health agencies, recovery groups, as well as various healthcare organizations, which will, in turn, spread the word about the consequences and the overall impact gambling addiction has on the citizens of the United States. Personal help and advice are also provided to anyone feeling the need to seek assistance and guidance on their journey to recovery. The National Problem Gambling Helpline is taking care of all people looking for help, in order to reduce the number of affected adults on a national level.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.