Is your child addicted to fruit machines?
Filed under: Debt
According to a report from the charity Gamcare, the UK has 60,000 children aged between 12 and 15 who are addicted to gambling.
While that equates to around one in 50, in the over-16s group – that is the rest of the population – the figure is one in 100.
Now that says to me that the interest in gambling actually tapers off as people get older, not that we are creating an army of gambling addicts for the future. And sure, of those one in 100 adults with a gambling problem, many would have started putting their pocket money into fruit machines.
That's because they weren't allowed into casinos.
The people at Gamcare put the problem into simple maths. The clinical evidence they've based the report on says 0.9% of adults are problem gamblers while in the 12-15 age group that figure is 2%.
They then suggest that there is a risk the youngsters may take their addiction into adulthood. Then, as any betting man knows, there is a risk they may not.
Just like young girls grow out of playing with dolls and young boys stop jumping out of trees imagining they can fly, as children grow into adolescence and then into adulthood, the things that matter to them change.
Fruit machines are just like big toys with their brash music, flashing lights and things that whirr around and around. But I would suggest that looking at the figures, half of those who love wasting their money on them at a tender age, eventually grow out of them and move their focus onto something more interesting.
If I was a betting man, and it's 2 to 1 I'm not, then I'd say that focus moved to the opposite sex. Just a guess mind you.