There are more and more young problem gamblers in Ireland and it is believed that this is due to the rise of mobile devices.
Over 100,000 Irish people are believed to be addicted to gambling and mobile casinos seem to be the main culprit. According to experts, 90% of problem gamblers under 25 started out by playing casino games on smartphones or tablets. The worst part is that less than 1% of them actually get help.
Studies show that internet gambling addiction is also on the rise, with some people spending as much as eight hours playing online casino games. The Catholic Marriage Care Service (CMCS) also claims that more than 15% of couples seeking counseling are complaining about one spouse spending too much time gambling or working online.
CMCS counselors believe online gaming is a form of “escapism” for people who have to deal with financial, work or personal problems.
More victims every year
Aiseiri and Cuan Mhuire, two of the country’s largest addiction treatment centers, confirmed the rising trend in the number of addicts. According to gambling addiction expert Paul Mullins, there’s a 20% increase each year.
The expert says most people seek help when it’s already too late, when they’ve lost all of their money, destroyed their marriage or ended up in prison for breaking Irish gambling laws.
“The youngest person we have had in treatment was 17. But from the experience of the UK, there are definitely 12 and 13 year-olds out there with gambling problems, but who haven’t presented yet,” he added.