Gambling addiction is one of the key challenges of our age, with the consequences leading to serious debt and suicide. We can't afford to stay silent any more.
Figures show that Wales has a huge 'hidden' gambling problem, with an estimated £52m a year being lost on fixed odds betting terminals alone.
Access to gambling has never been easier – either on the high street or via a computer or television. With some 1,500 FOBT (fixed odds betting terminals) machines in Wales, the average staked on each machine is just over £1,000,000 per year or about £3,000 per day, resulting in a pre-tax profit per machine of £34,000.
Gambling is not a new phenomenon, but excessive gambling in Wales is on the increase. Gambling can affect people from all walks of life. Figures for England and Wales show that almost 2% of the adult male population can now be classified as Pathological Gamblers. Gambling problems can lead to incredibly tough emotional, financial and psychological issues which are not easy to spot until it gets too much for the individual in question.
Many people who struggle with gambling don’t reach out for help until they’re in a crisis situation. Recent research suggest that only 10 per cent of people with gambling problems seek formal help.
The pioneering Beat the Odds initiative is a collaboration between one of the world’s leading gambling help services, The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, in North Melbourne, Australia, and community based recovery centre Living Room Cardiff.
As in Wales, problem gambling in Australia is increasingly recognised as an important public health issue with negative impacts for individuals, families and communities. It is estimated, from research undertaken by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation that around 20-30% of Australian punters are classified as problem gamblers, who in turn account for as much as 50-60% of all money spent on gambling. In Wales the population spends £1.6billion a year on gambling.
We can't afford to stay silent any more.
It's time to take action.
Join the movement, treat yourself to a Flutter-Free February.