Gambling and Youth
I was reading this morning that the National Health Service is establishing its first clinic for gambling addiction for people between the ages of 13 to 25. Yes, that’s right, 13 to 25. For many of us we might find that age to be far too young to be looking at gambling. However, with the advent of easy access for gambling on mobile devices, people younger and younger are becoming more and more embroiled in gambling.
For many people, gambling is an enjoyable past time which causes no great difficulties. However, for the vulnerable and the young, gambling can become a significant issue in their lives causing all manner of difficulties and distress. In my own practice, the people I see with regards to gambling issues are generally under the age of thirty. They are in significant debt and their mental health has naturally suffered because of it.
It is essential that we as a society do more to restrict the access to gambling for the young and vulnerable. The promise of a great payout can overwhelm a person’s good sense. Indeed, with so many companies, both traditional bookmakers and others, getting on the gambling bandwagon, there is even a greater imperative than before. We in the therapeutic community can do our part, but it is up to the companies and regulators to take the necessary action to ensure that gambling does not become yet another blight on some young people’s lives.