herald

Monday 5 December 2016

'Covert' gambling easier with mobiles

Mobile phones and smart technology is "deepening" the impact of gambling in Ireland, according to a new study.

Researchers in UCD met people who have gambling addictions and found that mobile phones facilitated covert gambling.

Because of the place of mobile phones in Irish society, "the gambler could gamble unnoticed by others who might be similarly preoccupied with mobile devices", the report read.

Gamblers themselves reported that the technology fed into their impulsivity.

It allowed continuous gambling even, for example, between races in a bookies.

Gateway

Online gambling was described as a "gateway to secret, hidden gambling activities" by researchers.

People who found themselves battling an addiction could have started as young as nine, the report showed.

In a paper published yesterday, the authors have outlined the need for more addiction services for people with gambling problems and called for a national strategy to be put in place urgently.

The project was supported by the Department of Social protection, and Tanaiste Joan Burton said she was "very concerned" about the impact of Ireland's gambling culture.

It leads to "devastation and stress" for the families involved, she said.

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