Not every gambler has either bet the house or is in danger of doing so. The gambling addicts of Britain include 60,000 children between 12 and 15 years old. Per capita, this is three times the amount of adult addicts. Meanwhile, GamCare asserts that merely 5 percent of parents are willing to prevent their children from laying a bet. By contrast, 60 percent believe in restricting alcohol to prevent its abuse.
GamCare has linked numerous issues to these youthful gamblers, ranging from absenteeism and poor performance at school to drug and alcohol abuse. Perhaps not surprisingly, these scions are also inclined towards stealing, whether to make new bets or cover lost ones. This is not unexpected if one allows an ounce of credibility to the Christian Institutes pessimistic observation: “Gambling is highly addictive, harming not only the gambler but also many more through poverty, crime, family breakdown, suicide and lost time at work.”
Jane Rigbye, GamCare’s head of education development, suggests the problem is cultural and environment, as “Gambling is all around us. It is advertised on television, children are accessing internet bingo sites and internet poker sites. They have found ways of lying about their age to access these sites”.
Rt. Hon. David Willets MP, Minister for Universities and Science insists upon the vitality of educating young people upon gambling’s risks. Though generally working with a larger age group, he optimistically feels that armed with risk awareness and control strategies, students will make wiser decisions.
The Christian Institute predicted many of the current problems stemming from liberalized British gambling laws when they evaluated proposals for the now-enacted Gambling Act of 2005. As harbingers, they announced, “Gambling advertising will appear everywhere from street corners to television and gambling in a casino will become as easy as playing the National Lottery.”