Problem gamblers in the UK have run up total debts in excess of seven billion dollars and the Government of Gordon Brown is being accused of doing very little to stop the spread of this addiction.
According to a recent report from British newspaper The Daily Mail, 284,000 British problem gamblers owe a total of $7.08 billion, which works out at just over $25,000 per person.
The figures were uncovered after an analysis of ‘betting industry data’ by the Conservatives, The Daily Mail reported, with politicians, doctors and charities warning of the 'devastating’ surge in gambling addiction and debt leading to increased family breakdowns, crime and ill health.
“The Government has shown a complete lack of leadership and has shamefully and irresponsibly turned a blind eye to the level of debt racked up by gamblers,” said Jeremy Hunt, Culture Spokesman for the Conservatives.
“It is deeply concerning, especially at a time when people are struggling to cope with the economic downturn, that vulnerable people are drowning in huge gambling debts. The Government must take problem gambling addiction seriously.”
The newspaper reported that the number of problem gamblers seeking help had ‘rocketed’ by 25 percent since Labour changed the rules on gambling. It stated that the GamCare gambling addiction charity revealed that nearly 38,000 people called its hotline last year compared with just over 30,000 in 2006 while reporting that average levels of debt rose from $19,965 to $25,301.
The newspaper has been a critic of Labour and Prime Minister Gordon Brown for many years and is thought not to be a fan of the more liberalised gaming market. It reported that the UK spends $14.46 per person on support for problem gamblers, which compres with $63.64 in New Zealand and $57.86 in Canada, even though betting contributed $2.89 billion in taxes last year.