Gambling Addiction Increasing in the UK

Bingo is a relatively innocent game that causes few problems. For most people bingo is a socially acceptable form of gambling because of the game’s long association with churches and charities. In fact many people do not regard bingo games as gambling but the fact is that bingo is a totally random game of chance. Cases of gambling addiction are rare among bingo players including online bingo players. There have been a few high profile cases of gambling addiction associated with bingo. A few years ago a 39 year old woman stole seventy five thousand pounds ($120,867.05 USD) from her employer to feed her bingo addiction. She received a 12 month prison sentence.

Another high profile case that received extensive media attention involved a woman who stole £7,595 ($12,239.80 USD) from her disabled mother to feed her internet bingo addiction. The mother, who has a disease that affects her balance, allowed the woman to manage her finances. The mother thought she was the victim of identity theft until records showed that the money went into the daughter’s account. The woman received an eight month jail term, which was suspended for two years, and unpaid work. (Community service) Even worse the woman is now estranged from her whole family.

Another high profile case was that of a 51 year old elder care giver in Plymouth, UK who stole £90,000 ($145,080.39 USD) pounds from residents afflicted with dementia.

Gambling statistics show that 98% of all internet bingo players are able to play cash bingo responsibly. Internet bingo has what is probably the lowest percentage of problem gamblers in the online gambling industry. The very nature of internet bingo does not usually attract problem gamblers.  At present the woman has not been sentenced but courts take a very dim view of thefts from vulnerable pensioners. The internet bingo industry has responded to the problem of gambling addiction and has been proactive identifying problem gamblers. Many internet bingo operators offer players the option to select monthly limits on deposits and most have self exclusion options available. Most bingo sites also have direct links to organizations that provide help and counseling for problem gamblers.

Recently the UK gambling commission released figures that showed an increase in mobile gambling. The two most popular games with mobile gamblers are the National Lottery and internet bingo. Penrose has called for stricter regulations of offshore gaming sites and more protections for vulnerable players.