The coronavirus has stranded millions of people in their homes, and UK gambling watchdogs worry that the temptation to gamble online might be too much for those with gambling disorders. That’s why Gamstop is pushing their gambling self-exclusion program to help resist temptation.
System of a Lockdown
The UK Gambling Commission is especially concerned about the effects of boredom and stress on gambling addicts during lockdown. They believe that the forced lockdown could result in idle hands doing the devil’s work.
According to Gamstop, UK’s main gambling self-exclusion program, more than 130,000 people have registered since April 2018. And 73% of those who registered opted for the maximum five-year self-exclusion option.
But a red flag raised the attention of Gamstop staff when a sudden wave of calls from gamblers rolled in, asking to lift their self-exclusion. All of the callers were under lockdown and wanted to do something with their time; however, gambling for those with a compulsion is not the answer.
Plea to Act Responsibly
The Betting and Gaming Council has recommended at-risk gamblers to take advantage of the free treatment and self-exclusion options offered by Gamstop. BGC CEO Michael Dugher advised those concerned about gambling addiction to take action.
“In this time of national crisis, with so many people self-isolating and social distancing at home, it is vital that we do everything possible to ensure safer gambling and to protect potentially vulnerable or at risk people,” Dugher said.
Since casinos have closed, online gambling has seen a sudden rise in business. And since you can gamble online anywhere with a smart device and an internet connection, gambling treatment groups are concerned about the sudden boom in free time spent at home, especially for those with a gambling disorder.
While gambling is an exciting form of recreation and relaxation, it’s important to know your limits and gamble in moderation. If you or anyone you know is having trouble with gambling, help is available.
Gambling addiction help in the U.S. is available at www.gamblersanonymous.org.
For free online self-exclusion programs and counseling in the UK: https://www.gamstop.co.uk.
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