1 in 4 addicts are hooked on mobile betting
A QUARTER of admissions to Irish addiction treatment centres are now for chronic problems caused by online gambling with smart-phones, tablets and laptops.
A special report on three-year figures from one of Ireland's leading addiction treatment providers has revealed a startling surge in gambling addiction problems, with an estimated 250pc hike in the number of Irish people seeking help since the roll-out of online gaming.
The report, the first of its kind, is expected to increase pressure on the Government to deliver on the long-delayed Gambling Bill.
The legislation, under discussion since 2006 but not expected to become law until next April, plans to impose a 1pc levy on all gambling profits in Ireland. An estimated €5m yield will likely then be devoted to the new Office of Gambling Control.
Aiseiri, which runs adult treatment centres in Tipperary and Wexford and an adolescent treatment centre in Kilkenny, released the figures to highlight the additional resources and services needed to help addicts.
The review of 2011 to 2013 statistics compiled by Paul Mullins revealed an alarming increase in online gambling problems.
The review was conducted across 88 admissions for specific gambling problems.
"A lot of people refer to gambling as the most destructive addiction because when a person finally admits they have a problem and seeks help, they are generally facing into financial destruction and huge debts," Mr Mullins said.
Aiseiri chief executive Paul Conlon said 10pc of Aiseiri's annual adult residential intake of 300 people in Cahir and Wexford involves people with gambling addictions.