THE striking success of online gambling services concern experts and rehabilitated ex gamblers alike.
Patients arrive to rehabilitation clinics at younger ages every year, which shows the addictive power of these services as reported by representatives at Barcelona Hospital Bellvitge Psychiatric Department.
The widely extended use of mobile devices has spread the problem to teenagers and young adults, attracted by the constant advertising in social media websites, as informed by a representative of Spanish Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers (FEJAR).
The appearance of celebrities like Rafa Nadal in said adverts helps the viewer create a sense of familiarity and trust towards the service.
Online gamblers often use fake identities, usually to hide the fact that they are minors.
Doctor Angela Ibañez, head of the Psychiatric unit of Ramon y Cajal hospital unit said: “the legalisation of online gambling and its advertising makes it look risk free and attractive. Online players do not usually acknowledge that they have a problem, which makes it harder to treat them because they do not seek professional help.”
Other experts from the Advisory Committee for Responsible Gambling of the Ministry of Finance pointed out that an improved political legislation could help minimise the risk for young players to develop addictions, and said that their motivations and behaviours online are focused on entertainment rather than the gambling activity.
Meanwhile, players from 12 to 15 years old are spending big quantities of money on these sites and their addiction often goes unnoticed.