Housewives hooked on Internet gambling
By Paul
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.'

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