The number of people being treated for gambling addiction on mobile phones and tablet devices has jumped significantly in recent years, according to a new report by the National Problem Gambling Clinic (NPGC).
Published by the BBC, the study shows that while 24% of NPGC patients in 2012-13 were struggling with mobile gambling, this has risen to 63% in 2016-17.
The total number of addicts referred to the NHS-supported clinic increased from 632 in 2012-13 to 778 in 2016-17, despite ongoing efforts in the UK industry to tackle such issues.
Of this total, 59% were treated for problems related to the much-criticised fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), while 59% were also said to have struggled with sports betting in land-based sites.
In addition, 8% of NPGC patients reported problems related to bingo.
Dr. Neil Smith consultant clinical psychologist and service manager at the NPGC, said: “The use of mobile phones as platforms to gamble on over the preceding five years is not surprising given their ubiquity in society.”
A spokesperson for the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has also called for the industry to take further action over such issues.
“There is clearly more work needed in this area,” the spokesperson said.
“We are currently undertaking a review of the gambling sector that includes looking at social responsibility measures across the industry, including protections around gambling advertising.”
However, a spokesperson for the Remote Gambling Association has said that the “technological advantages of remote gambling” means that operators have more power to encourage responsible gambling.
It was also highlighted that a number of major software companies working on apps to block gaming sites from the phones and tablets of problem gamblers.
The revelation comes after the Local Government Association (LGA), formed of local councils in the UK, issued a call for “greater restrictions” on betting-related advertising, in order to help minimise the risk of young people from developing gambling problems…