The US’s interest in online gambling games has not led to an increasing number of people with gambling problems, according to a new study from the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo.
In fact, it found that participation in gambling overall has actually decreased in the country, with the percentage of survey respondents who had gambled in the last 12 months dropping to 76.9 per cent for 2012-2013. In 1999-2000, meanwhile, 82.2 per cent had tried their luck.
Senior research scientist John Welte observed they found that there was no “significant increase” in problem gambling rates in the US, in spite of the fact that gambling opportunities had in fact climbed across the nation.
“It may be due to the economic downturn we experienced starting in 2008, which resulted in a decline in casino business,” Mr Welte remarked. “It also could be due to the ‘theory of adaptation’ – that while initial increases in exposure to gambling venues lead to increases in rates of problem gambling, a population will eventually adapt and further negative consequences will not continue.”
In the UK, however, problem gambling does still seem to be a very real issue, with figures showing that addictive high stakes machines are costing punters a lot of money. In Wales, for example, £1.6 billion is being staked each year on fixed odds betting terminals, which has prompted critics to say these machines are fuelling gambling addictions.
Successful writer and actor Wynford Ellis Owen, who has himself battled various addictions, told Wales Online that nearly two per cent of the adult male population across England and Wales can now be considered pathological gamblers. A new national Beat The Odds scheme has now been launched to help people tackle their addictions head on.
As long as gambling is enjoyed responsibly, it shouldn’t pose a problem to your health, but you do need to keep an eye on how much you are playing and how much money you are spending on this particular pastime.