Money, man in a suit and women with high heels. Places open 24/7, without clocks, where the phone is forbidden and the drinks are inexpensive. Poker, Russian Roulette and slot machines.

If you walk around London you will be impressed by the quantity of Casinos that surround the city. In some of them the entrance is even free and you do not need membership. We may grow up with the idea that betting is not safe, but do we really know about the risks?

I have found myself surprised by discovering that, as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health claims, when people are addicted to gambling, they may become anxious and unhappy, and often hate themselves. They feel that they cannot give up the emotion and the money that they have invested in the game and so cannot accept that they will never get back what they have lost. Some people still believe that a change of luck will bring them their money back, others believe that continuing to gamble is the only way out of situations that they are ashamed of.

Some statistics show that 68 per cent of men and 61 per cent of women in England gambled in 2012. The average a household spent on gambling was £3.20 a week. After one year the numbers have increased greatly.

The British gambling industry has generated a gross gambling yield of over £6.8 billion between April 2013 and March 2014, a rise of almost £0.4 billion (6 per cent) compared to the period in April 2012 to March 2013. In 2012 there were 9,128 operating betting shops with an average of 3.65 fixed-odds machines each.

The problem of gambling is that there are many websites that instigate people to bet their money. Smartphones and tablet computers have allowed people to gamble at any time of day without having to leave their homes. Many of these websites and apps have also developed chat rooms or communities to allow players to interact.’Younger people are trying out new things. They are comfortable with the technology, but they do not understand the risks’, says Dirk Hansen, Chief Executive of GamCare, which runs a helpline and forums for those who are getting into difficulty.

What is really surprising is that the government is earning from the people’s addiction. In fact the figures are considerable – in 2012-13, the government received £1.7 billion in betting and gaming duties. Four times a year, the Gambling Commission takes a survey of more than 4,000 adults whose demographics are representative of the UK as a whole. In the latest survey, bingo and lottery draws are the most popular form of gambling. Moreover, 1 in 20 men aged between 16 and 24 are at moderate risk or already considered to be problem gamblers, according to the HSCIC report.

With eight million people visiting a betting shop every year, including an increasing number of women, it is clear that everyone needs to be careful about betting.

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