UK Gambling News: Gambling Addition Drugs Raises Concerns for UK Operators 

Drugs to treat gambling addiction

Drugs being used to treat gamblers and iGaming being used to reshape the adult entertainment industry. (Image: freshstartprivate.com)

Doctors are now prescribing gambling addiction drugs to people that can’t be treated using conventional methods says a report by the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT).

According to statistics published by the RGT, almost 1,000 people were referred to its clinics last year after GPs identified patterns of serious problem gambling habits.

The RGT, which operates as a charity and is part funded by gambling operators, was set-up to help tackle problem gambling in the UK through a combination of education, direct action and treatment services.

As part of the latter service, the RGT set-up the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London as a place where GPs can refer patients if they believe they require specialist help.

Since November the clinic has been trialling the use of an anti-addiction drug, naltrexone, in an effort to treat those who appear immune to behavioural treatments.

Things Aren’t as they Seem

The drug, which is commonly given to drug and alcohol abusers, costs £68 per patient for a three month cycle and is designed to tackle the cravings many gamblers feel when they haven’t anted up for a while.

However, what’s interesting to note from the two reports is that online gambling hasn’t come under fire.

As ever, Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) have been brought into the argument with anti-gambling campaigners blaming them for the rise in reports of problem gambling in recent years.

Regardless of where the problems stem from, the revelation the drugs are now being used to treat gambling addiction isn’t something the British gambling industry will relish.

Fortunately, for those who take the time the read beyond the headline, the news isn’t as dramatic as papers such as the Daily Mail would have readers believe.

Although the RGT has reported almost 1,000 referrals from GPs in 2015, the number of patients actually given naltrexone is just five.

The first was given out at the start of the trial period in November and since then only four more people have been deemed serious enough cases for the drug.

In Other News…

While gambling might be fending off attacks from opponents of FOBTs, there was some positive news for the industry this week as the iGaming industry as an example of excellence with regards to age verification.

Following the launch of a public consultation on measures designed to restrict under 18s’ access to pornographic websites, Ben Jordan of Aristotle (an age verification company) referenced the gambling industry as a leader in the field.

“Age checking is nothing new. The online gambling industry has been doing this for years and it’s been very effective,” said Jordan.

As anyone with an online casino or poker account will know, before you’re permitted to play for or withdraw real money you have to verify your age using a valid form of ID.

This is something that pornographic sites could soon be forced implement if the current consultation backs the government’s desire to see more protection afforded to those under the age of 18.

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