|Housewives in the UK are becoming hooked on Internet gambling, spending hours every day and going thousands of pounds into debt, according to the UK’s largest gambling support groups.|
Gamblers Anonymous, an international fellowship for compulsive gamblers, and GamCare, a UK charity which promotes responsible attitudes towards gambling, say that more and more housewives have access to a computer and are logging onto casino and betting sites between household chores.
Both groups have reported an increase of between 10% and 20% over the past year in the number of women approaching them for help with an online gambling addiction. Internet gambling is perceived by Gamblers Anonymous as more female-friendly than betting shops or land-based casinos.
'Women who might otherwise be intimidated by a whole crowd of men in a betting shop are finding a release on the internet,' said a Gamblers Anonymous spokesman.
The concerns raised by the groups are also supported by a recent report issued by NetImperative, an online market-research company, which found that 39% of online gamblers are women: more than a quarter of these are in the 35-49 age group. The year-long study found that almost 2,000 British housewives were regular online gamblers in March 2002, compared with about 1,100 a year earlier.
A spokesman for Gamcare called the findings 'very worrying'. She added: 'Twenty-four per cent of problem gamblers who come to us for counseling are online gamblers. A lot of these will be housewives who can fit in gambling round cooking meals or putting the kids to sleep. 'It's even more worrying because there is such a stigma attached to female gambling, which means that women often won't come forward and admit that they have a problem. These figures probably don't tell half the story.'