Online gambling addiction rises in Ireland

It has been reported that online gambling addition is becoming a major problem in Ireland according to the Ireland Examiner. The number of people seeking professional help has sky rocketed. Tabor Lodge, one of the largest treatment centers in the country has seen a 50% increase in patients over the last 2 years between the ages of 18 and 35, as told by Mick Devine, clinical director, Tabor Lodge, to the Examiner. Experts say that what’s making it worse is easy access to the internet. Ireland is estimated to make $1.25 billion a year from online gambling.

Initially, it was a habit that was seen only among older men but it has become a habit among younger men now who find the activity appealing. He quotes the incident of a 22 year old gambling addict he met who started out as a teenager. He says that most people who start gambling say they were bored before they got into it. He also says that the habit starts off as something harmless but gets worse. It doesn’t help that their habits never comes to light and there is no one to stop them from spending all their time on the computer. In fact, the only time the addiction does come to light is when somebody is in debt or gets arrested for fraud or theft.

Stephen Rowan, Director of the Troanfield House Treatment, Wicklow, says the same about how internet is making things worse for addicts. His house has seen an increase in people seeking help for gambling addiction as well. He adds that rarely are gambling addicts seen without any other issue like drug or alcohol abuse, calling it poly addiction. According to studies, gambling gives you the same rush that alcohol or drugs give you and to such people, gambling seems even more appealing.

In light of the worsening situation, Gamblers Anonymous in Waterford, who till 3 years ago had only one meeting per week, has now gone up to meeting 5 times a week due to an increase in service needs. Even regional towns like Mitchelstown and Thurles have increased their frequency to one meeting per week. Limerick has gone up from one to three per week while meetings are held everyday in Dublin and Cork.


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