300,000 Brits hooked on gambling – but firms make £14.3billion a year
How 300,000 Brits are hooked on gambling while firms rake in £14.3billion a year – as it emerges Scarlett Moffatt’s mother ‘took of tens of thousands from her to fund her habit’
- Gambling firms raked in more than £14.3billion last year, according to a report
- Online gambling use has increased by three per cent, with profits up 4 per cent
- According to Gambling Commission, 340,000 Britons are ‘problem gamblers’
- Scarlett Moffatt is said to have helped her mother who suffered from addiction
The thrill of a win, the flashing lights, and a catchy soundtrack, together with inciting ‘free spin’ offers, can create a powerful lure in the world of online gambling – but as the old saying goes: ‘The house always wins’.
In fact, the UK gambling industry doesn’t just win, it wins big every single year.
Across the 2019-20 financial year, the industry raked in a total of £14.3billion, according to UK regulator the Gambling Commission.
But it comes at a cost, with high-profile cases of gambling addiction highlighting the plight of the hundreds of thousands of so-called ‘problem gamblers’ in the UK.
Celebrities including former footballer-turned TV pundit Paul Merson have in the past opened up about their issues with gambling.
In an emotional television moment last year, the former Arsenal forward admitted his betting was ‘out of control’ and described his urge to bet as ‘relentless’.
Meanwhile, I’m a Celebrity and Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt is recently said to have helped her mother, Betty, get therapy after her online gambling habit ‘spiralled out of control’ during lockdown, according to the Sun.
Online gambling – and with it online problem gambling – is a growing talking point within the industry.
More than 300,000 Britons are described as ‘problem gamblers’ by the Gambling Commission – with one-million more considered to be a ‘low risk’ of future addiction.
In 2019-2020, firms raked in more than £14.3billion, according to UK regulator the Gambling Commission. Pictured: Graphs which show the Gross Gambling Yield – the amount retained by gambling operators after the payment of winnings but before the deduction of operation costs – in total (left) and from slot machines (right)
The number of people gambling online is also on the increase. Approximately 11 million had gambled online in 2019-20 – up 3 per cent since December 2018. Pictured: A Gambling Commission graph showing the trust in gambling (pictured left) with the change in online gambling habits (right)
I’m a Celebrity and Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt (pictured) is recently said to have helped her mother, Betty, get therapy after her online gambling habit ‘spiralled out of control’ during lockdown, according to the Sun
Celebrities including former footballer-turned TV pundit Paul Merson have in the past opened up about their issues with gambling – with the Arsenal forward admitting last year his gambling was ‘out of control’
Top tips for helping someone you think may be a problem gambler, from addiction experts
Tips for helping someone, from experts at the Priory Group
· Talk in private with no distractions when both of you are calm – this will encourage the person to think clearly and listen to what you have to say
· Express the impact that their gambling is having on you and other people without placing blame – the person may not recognise the impact that their gambling has on other people, so explain to them how their behaviour is affecting the people they are closest to
· Remain calm and compassionate – they are likely to be ashamed of their problem. Rather than chastising or blaming them, which could cause them to put up barriers, explain that you’re concerned as you’ve noticed that they aren’t doing activities they once enjoyed, seem to owe people a lot of money or always seem short of cash
· Actively listen to them – give them the chance to talk. If they become angry or deny that they have a problem, ask them to have a think about their gambling and let them know how you want to help them
· Focus on the fixes rather than problems – discussing solutions and possible avenues of support can help to show that you care and are willing to work with them. Doing so can also help them to see that there is a way out of their gambling addiction
· Be prepared to be met by a range of emotions – while some people are instantly relieved to be able to open up about their gambling addiction, others may become angry and dismissive. Preparing for these emotions can give you the opportunity to think about how you will react
· Be patient – give the person time. Having these conversations can often act as an initial seed that causes a person to reflect on their gambling, see that they are not alone and recognise that there are ways to get help. If they aren’t ready to talk about it just yet, remind them that you are always there to talk to and will work with them to get control of the situation.
While Gross Gambling Yield – the amount retained by gambling operators after the payment of winnings but before the deduction of operation costs – fell by half-a-per cent this year compared to last, online gambling profits actually rose by 4.3 per cent.
According to the Gambling Commission, approximately 11 million gambled online in 2019-20 – up 3 per cent since December 2018
Of those, half used their mobile phone to gamble – increase of 6 per cent.
But having a casino or a betting shop at your finger tips 24/7 also comes with problems.
According to the Gambling Commission’s most recent report, approximately 340,000 adults are considered ‘problem gamblers’, while another 550,000 are classed as a moderate risk.
Perhaps even more of a concern is that 1.2million are classed as a low risk at becoming a problem gambler – described as someone with an urge to gamble continuously despite negative consequences or a desire to stop.
In a bid to tackle the growing issue, the Gambling Commission carried out a review of online gambling in 2018.
The report led the regulator to introduce a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling.
Away from the online gambling world, the Government introduced a limit on Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops in 2018, limiting the max bet to £2 after a year-long study into the machines.
Players could previously bet up to £100 a spin on the machines – dubbed the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.
But the move drew criticism from industry experts and bookies, including William Hill who closed 700 betting shops citing the decision – resulting in more than 4,000 jobs in an industry which employs nearly 100,000 people in total.
Others claimed the issue of problem gambling had been rapidly moving online anyway a long time before the restrictions on FOBTs were put in place.
As part of its drive to further crackdown on the causes of problem gambling, the Commission has vowed to further strengthen protections in relation to unfair practices, complaints and disputes, customer interaction and online age and identity verification.
Following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK, the regulatory body also wrote to online operators reminding them of their responsibilities to their customers.
Operators meanwhile also have their own policies and in-house rules for customers, including daily account limits – which allow players to set their own limit on how much they spend in a set period of time.
Many major betting firms also offer self-exclusion periods, where customers can ban themselves from certain websites and apps for up to five years.
According to the Gambling Commission’s most recent report, approximately 340,000 adults are problem gamblers, while another 550,000 are classed as a moderate risk. Pictured: A Gambling Commission Graphic which shows the breakdown of income from gambling
The firms also promise to ‘use all reasonable endeavours to ensure compliance’ with their self-exclusion policies.
Gamblers can also access free third party services such as GAMSTOP, which allow users to restrict their online gambling activities, while there are support services through charities such as BeGambleAware.
Meanwhile, among experts in the field of addiction treatment, there is a growing concern about an increase in online gambling, particularly during lockdown.
Priory consultant psychiatrist Dr Niall Campbell, an addiction expert based at the Priory’s Roehampton Hospital in south-west London, told MailOnline; ‘I am seeing an increasing number of patients with gambling addiction under lockdown.
‘It is incredibly easy to “gamble on the go” on smartphone apps or laptops or iPads 24 hours a day.
Priory consultant psychiatrist Dr Niall Campbell, an addiction expert based at the Priory’s Roehampton Hospital in south-west London, said he has seen an increase in problem gambling in lockdown
‘In lockdown, when there is little to do and people are either killing time, or working excessive hours, and stressed about their finances, they can fall into addictive behaviours.
‘Many people, under considerable stress and often with little money, are looking for ways of solving their financial problems or distracting themselves from them.’
‘Accessibility and anonymity means problem gamblers can slip under the radar.’
On spotting someone with a potential gambling problem, he added: ‘The obvious signs to look out for in others are secretive use of the phone, being on the phone far more than before, appearing to run out of money with no purchases to show for it, borrowing money without being able to repay it, and appearing very irritable when discussing finances.’
Last month, a hard-hitting academic report described gambling addiction as an urgent public health issue that must be taken as seriously as alcoholism and smoking.
The report, by Sheffield University and published in Lancet Public Health, reviewed existing evidence for what works to reduce the harm to individuals and communities as a result of gambling.
The team, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, found the regulatory, education and treatment services that successfully reduced the harm caused by smoking and drinking ‘have not been systematically developed and evaluated for gambling’.
Earlier this year a House of Lords’ report urged ministers to impose a levy on gambling operators to fund NHS addiction treatment.
The Betting and Gaming Council last month said there was ‘no evidence problem gambling has increased during the pandemic’, adding: ‘[Our] members have increased funding for research, education and treatment and regularly intervene where customers are at risk.’
The Daily Mail has called for action against unscrupulous betting firms through its Stop the Gambling Predators campaign.
***If you have been affected by problem gambling, you can call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133***
Scarlett Moffatt’s mother Betty ‘took tens of thousands of pounds from her daughter’s account to fund her out of control gambling habit… with the star now helping her mum get therapy’
By Olivia Wheeler for MailOnline
Scarlett Moffatt has reportedly helped her mother, Betty, get therapy after her online gambling habit ‘spiralled out of control’ during lockdown.
According to new reports, the Gogglebox star, 30, was left ‘betrayed and confused’ after her mother allegedly took ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ from her account.
Betty, who has been working for Scarlett since her 2016 I’m A Celebrity win, is said to have become ‘desperate and panicky’ after losing ‘thousands every week’ from her online gambling habit.
Claims: Scarlett Moffatt has reportedly helped her mother, Betty, get therapy after her online gambling habit ‘spiralled out of control’ during lockdown (pictured in 2018)
And in ‘sheer desperation’, Betty allegedly took ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ from Scarlett’s account with the hopes of winning it back.
Yet when Betty reportedly never won the cash back, Scarlett was left ‘horrified’ to discover her account was missing money.
The reality star was said to be ‘betrayed and confused’ but is now supporting her mother and helping her get therapy with the whole family, including Scarlett’s father, Mark, giving Betty the ’emotional and physical support she needs’.
A source told The Sun that it’s been a ‘traumatic few months’, they added: ‘She was losing thousands every week, and became desperate and panicky. In sheer desperation, she took money from Scarlett’s account.
‘Confused’: According to new reports, the Gogglebox star, 30, was left ‘betrayed and confused’ after her mother allegedly took ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ from her account (pictured in February 2020)
‘Panicky’: Betty, who has been working for Scarlett since her 2016 I’m A Celebrity win, is said to have become ‘desperate and panicky’ after losing ‘thousands every week’ from her online gambling habit (pictured on Gogglebox with Scarlett and her husband Mark)
‘But she obviously always thought she would win it back, and be able to repay her. Of course, she never did win the money and the next thing she knew, Scarlett realised her account was missing tens of thousands, and was horrified.’
The source continued: ‘But once Betty broke down and explained what had happened Scarlett couldn’t have been more supportive.’
They added that the whole family has given Betty the ’emotional and physical support she needs.’
While Scarlett is reportedly hoping to ‘help others in a similar position’ with Betty ‘determined to come out the other side’.
A representative for Scarlett declined to comment when approached by MailOnline for comment.
Betty found fame with Scarlett, her younger sister Ava, 14, and their father Mark when they were all castmembers on Gogglebox.
The family left the Channel 4 show in 2016 after Scarlett appeared on, and later won, I’m A Celebrity. She went on to co-host Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m A Celebrity’s Extra Camp.
At the time, Scarlett was reportedly set to rake in millions and in October 2020 it was claimed that the star paid herself a ‘£240,000 dividend’.
During her time on I’m A Celebrity, Scarlett revealed that she had been able to pay off her parents’ mortgage.
She told her fellow campmates: ‘I paid off the mortgage on my mum and dad’s house for them.
‘I just wrote them a letter and said, thanks for being mint, and sorry for leaving fake tan all over the house, and then I put a cheque in for them.’
In 2019, the Moffatts took part in a controversial TV show called The British Tribe Next Door, where they lived alongside the Himba community in a Namibian tribal village.
More recently, in August, Scarlett surprised her mother Betty with a family get together for her 50th birthday.
The TV presenter went all out for her mother’s special day with the help of her father Mark and her younger sister Ava, 14.
With coronavirus restrictions still in place at the time, the family could only have 30 people over to celebrate with, with Scarlett making the most of the day with an inflatable pop-up pub in the garden.
Fame: Betty found fame with Scarlett, her younger sister Ava, 14, and their father Mark when they were all castmembers on Gogglebox, they left in 2016 to pursue new TV projects
While in December, Scarlett shared a first look at the new home she is building, after selling her County Durham abode for £395,000 one week after putting in on the market.
The TV personality took to Instagram to give her fans a closer look at the building works that are taking place in the house she has moved into with boyfriend Scott Dobinson.
Showing off her spacious kitchen, the renovations in Scarlett’s dream home seemed to be coming along nicely as a large island and kitchen cabinets had already been put in place.
Scarlett sold her luxury five-bedroom County Durham home last month, she purchased the swanky abode back in 2017, months after winning I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.
The star told how she wouldn’t be moving too far in an Instagram post, writing: ‘Me and Scott are off on an adventure (10 miles away) so our beautiful home is now for sale.’
The TV star is reported to have purchased the property for £300,000, and so is said to have made an impressive profit when it was sold.
If you have been affected by this story, you can call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133.
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