Gambling appears to be everywhere, on all media platforms and on our TV screens and throughout various times of the day. GamFam Trustee, Carolyn Harris, says, “Gambling has been normalised to such an extent that young people grow up thinking this is a harmless activity”.
• Gambling is advertised as part of normal gameplay within the computer games that we play (including many under 18 games).
• Famous sporting personalities and celebrities are used to promote gambling.
• It is heavily marketed in many sports, especially football.
• The average 14 to 18-year old is watching approximately four gambling adverts per day
• Approximately 50% of football clubs from the top two divisions in England have gambling-related sponsors.
• The ‘normalisation’ of gambling within football is creating a time bomb as young people are being conditioned to think that betting is an integral part of football.
Therefore, it could be argued that the risk of developing a gambling disorder is higher than that of alcohol or drugs, as it is perceived to be more socially acceptable.
Many people start gambling for fun and in some cases experience early wins. This helps to reinforce the addictive nature of gambling as they will continue playing in the hope that they experience the same thrill of winning again. However, these wins are often followed by losses and the cycle of a gambling disorder may begin.
Commonly, there is an enticement - the offer of what appears to be ‘free money’. Players are asked to make an initial deposit and as a reward are offered a seemingly attractive introductory bonus. An example of this could be ‘deposit £10 and receive £40 bonus’. In theory this may look like ‘free money’ but on closer inspection there are often staking or withdrawal restrictions in the terms and conditions.
The bonus may be offered as a ‘free bet,’ but the likelihood of benefiting from such a scheme is relatively small. In many cases the ‘free bet’ helps reinforce the addictive nature of gambling as it is designed to keep the player engaged. Once the bonus has been exhausted a player may start to use their own money