Gambling is a health issue according to a report in the Guardian.
Although gambling is not traditionally considered a public health issue, just under 1% of the British population have a serious problem, and the rate may be twice that in adolescents who feed slot machines, says an article in the journal today. Those hooked can be affected by depression, insomnia, intestinal disorders, migraine and other stress related problems. Some become suicidal.
Mark Griffiths, a professor of gambling studies in the psychology division of Nottingham Trent University, says health professionals need to develop strategies to help gambling addicts.
He says the social costs of gambling are high. A study of women admitted to accident and emergency in the US found that a woman whose partner was a problem gambler was over 10 times more likely to be assaulted.
When casinos were opened in South Dakota last year child abuse rose by 42% and domestic assaults by 80%.