Monday, January 15, 2007

More help for gambling addicts

With the Gambling Act coming into force in September, doctors have told the government that more help for gambling addicts should be made available through the NHS. Those who know me will recognise this as something close to my heart, for I am a gambling addict. Reformed, I hasten to add, but all the same I'm still aware that I'm vulnerable.
And I'm not sure where I stand on this. I was aware of Gambers Anonymous (not that I'm either advocating their services nor advising against), but it never struck me that it would be a good idea to seek them out for help. Rather, I introverted and tried to deal with it myself. I'm pretty sure that if I'd sought help from elsewhere it would have been a lot easier. Still, each to their own. It certainly never struck me that seeing my doctor would be a sensible plan. Unlike alcohol and drugs, gambling doesn't have the direct effect on ones health. And if you're not physically ill, why see a doctor? So to that end, making it public that your GP is there for something like this is a good thing, even with the admission that their aren't enough resources.
Havign packed the whole gambling thing in, I'm not someone who goes out of their way to preach the evils of it. I've no problem with the existence of gambling and gambling culture. I do wonder about the whole glamourisation and respectability of it. No longer do you have to cram into a small betting shop, thick with smoke from countless roll-ups while a crowd of old men wait for them to weigh in at Newton Abbot. Three clicks of a mouse and you're spunking a month's wage on the time of the first throw-in at Scunthorpe v Hartlepool, all without leaving your armchair. Spread betting - that's a nasty one. Win big and lose bigger seems to be the motto. And the onset of large casinos will give people a nice environment to splurge cash on the turn of a card. And I don't necessaily have a problem with making it appeal to a wider audience in this way, despite what I've just written. I think my problem is that it's beginning to be seen as a quick fix method to plug gaping holes in governmental budgets. And the prevalence of gaming companies sponsoring, for example, football clubs and sporting events bothers me. As long as the services get the funding they require to deal with any problems, I guess the onset of regional casinos doesn't bother me too much. I know I won't be using them and don't begrudge people who do.
Just promise me that if you do end up with a problem, you won't do what I did and you will seek help.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't see a problem with land-based gambling as long as you know your limits.