Soaring numbers of women are becoming addicted to gambling because of a boom in online betting.
Easy access to unregulated sites is tempting more and more women, who would not normally venture into a betting shop, says charity Gamcare.
It has led to a nine-fold increase in the number of female callers contacting the charity’s helpline.
Gamcare chairman Anthony Jennens said: “The unregulated online and mobile phone gaming services pose the greatest threat – that’s the growth market, where vulnerable people are falling into difficulties.”
Britain has up to 325,000 gambling addicts – but six years ago women made up just 2% of Gamcare’s clients. In the second half of last year it had risen to nine per cent of counselling clients and 18 per cent of helpline callers, the charity says.
Women now comprise more than a quarter of addicts using Gamcare’s online message forum.
The figures has emerged on the day officials announce which town or city will get to build Britain’s first American style ‘super casino’.
Mr Jennens said: “A huge amount of attention has been given to the idea of one casino.
“This actually amounts to only the tiniest bubble on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gambling problems. It’s not significant whatsoever and may evedn do good by tying firms into responsible behaviour.”
Faith Freestone, from the Society For The Study Of Gambling, added: “Gambling has become so accessible and so de-stigmatised that, unfortunately, it can only get worse.”
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