The number of problem gamblers seeking help rocketed by 25% since Labour controversially relaxed the laws. According to Gamcare's annual report, almost 38,000 people called its betting addiction hotline last year, compared with just over 30,000 the previous year. There were also 1,407 requests for help online.

The number of counselling sessions offered by Gamcare increased to 9,594 last year, up 36%.

People seeking help were usually aged between 26-35. Worryingly, 3-4% were aged under 18 years.

The number of women problem gamblers ringing the helpline jumped from 13% to 18%.

Almost 60% of those calling by phone were involved in gambling on fixed-odds terminals, usually foudn in betting shops, or staking money over the counter hon horses, greyhounds and football. A fifth played fruit machines.

30% of those seeking help via the website said they had problems with 'table games' such as poker, roulette and other card games often played on internet sites.

Read the Gamcare report by clicking here.


The average amount of debt rose from £13,000 to £17,500 in 12 months.

7% of callers admitted to owing  more than £100,000. 

17 different types of gambling now exist in the UK, from scratchcards to internet poker.

£19billion is the value of the gambling industry.

144 casinos operate in the UK.

68% of adults say they have gambled at least once in the past year.

17th October 2008

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