Young problem gamblers are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide, according to a study.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow said there was a ‘substantial and significant’ association between harmful gambling and attempted suicide among 16 to 24-year-olds.
A survey of 3,500 people found that a third of men in this age group who attempted suicide in the last year were problem gamblers. This was nine times more than those who had not made a suicide attempt.
One in seven women who had attempted suicide were problem gamblers – 4.9 times more likely than those who had not made a suicide attempt.
Young problem gamblers are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide, according to a study (stock image)
Dr Heather Wardle, the lead author on the report, said: ‘Our study found there was a substantial and significant association between problem gambling and attempted suicide amongst young people.
‘The association was very strong, even standing up when we took a range of other things into account, such as the amount people used social media and gaming.
‘For more than a decade, we have failed to fully appreciate the scale, severity and range of harms generated by gambling. We must now consider gambling as a public health issue.’
The findings, funded by the Wellcome Trust, comes amidst growing concern about the growing public health emergency posed by gambling addiction.
Earlier this week researchers led by the University of Oxford found that heavy gamblers were a third more likely to die within five years than a non-gambler.
There is more than one gambling-related suicide per day in the UK, according to the House of Lords Select Committee for Gambling, and gambling addiction is estimated to cost the NHS up to £1.2billion per year.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow (pictured) said there was a ‘substantial and significant’ association between harmful gambling and attempted suicide among 16 to 24-year-olds
Campaigners have claimed an epidemic of addiction is sweeping across the UK as families are forced to stay at home in lockdown.
The latest Gambling Commission data showed that people are betting more regularly and for longer during the November lockdown. The number of active online betting accounts also hit record 2.8 million during the November lockdown.
The regulator fired a warning shot at bookmakers saying they must take ‘extra vigilance’ in the current lockdown, which is likely to continue until well into the Spring.
It added: ‘Most people will be spending more time at home and many people are likely to be feeling more isolated and vulnerable.
Earlier this week the founder of Paddy Power Stewart Kenny (pictured), who severed ties with the company in 2016 because he believed it was failing to help gambling addicts, spoke out for the first time to call for reform
‘The new restrictions and further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances. And we know that some people may gamble for the first time.’ Bookmakers profits have rocketed during the pandemic as people turn to online gambling on their laptop, smartphone or tablet to entertain themselves.
Ladbrokes and Coral owner reported a two-fifths increase in its taking between October and December, while Paddy Power owner Flutter revealed its punters lost £15 million a day between July and September.
Earlier this week the founder of Paddy Power Stewart Kenny, who severed ties with the company in 2016 because he believed it was failing to help gambling addicts, spoke out for the first time to call for reform.
He called for mandatory deposit limits for all customers, a £2 stake limit on online slots in line with machines in shops and an end to cross-selling of ‘addictive casino products’ to young sports fans.
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