Paul Buck had a great job in finance until it was ruined by problem gambling. He believes the temptations to gamble are greater - and a lot more visible - for young people than they were when he was a teenager. Here he identifies the different stages when gambling becomes a problem and suggests where to go for help if you're concerned:
Gambling can be divided into four phases:
At EPIC, we estimate that each problem, compulsive and pathological gambler is causing difficulties for nine more people - children, partners, work colleagues, friends, meaning that over 10 million people in the UK are seriously affected by problem gambling.
So how can you help prevent your child becoming a problem gambler?
Educate yourself – it is very difficult to educate your children if you do not understand the issue yourself. Look at Gambleaware, www.gambleaware.co.uk for the latest facts and figures or at EPIC’s website, www.epicpgc.com.
Be aware of the incentives and encouragements to gamble – via TV adverts, laptop pop-ups or at sporting events. Is gambling being made to look exciting and appealing? Have you talked to your child about what it means to gamble responsibly? Do you glamorise the lottery, the Grand National, days at the races or nights out at the casino?
Talk about the downsides – the best cure for problem gambling is to prevent it. Conversations about gambling should be a part of your general guidance.
Be aware that most gambling now takes place online – your child may not have the funds to join the 20,000+ internet gambling sites, but they are likely to be bombarded by advertisements, content and free versions of traditional gambling games. These send a strong message glorifying the thrills of gambling and emphasizing the prospect of winning.
Find out if anything is being taught about gambling at school – gambling is not currently on the curriculum. However all headteachers have the ability to have specialist talks. Educational resources around problem gambling are scarce in the UK and guest speakers even rarer - but schools can contact EPIC for help.
Sourcing Professional Support
Contact EPIC Consultancy: Educational, Preventative, Identification and Control services for all aspects of problem gambling.
Visit the website at www.epicpgc.com for more details.