Gamblers dating

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" and "Have you ever had the need to lie to people important to you about how much you gamble?

"GPs can then refer patients with difficulties to experts for help.

As the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board says: "Much of that help is concentrated in specialist, gambling-related support services which may well not be known to many of those experiencing problems."Other positive moves include a new freephone helpline number (see right), launched in April and run by the information and support provider Gamcare.

And new questions are being asked in the Health Survey for England (currently being conducted) which will give some insight into gambling prevalence when it is published in 2013-14.

Its aim, says Camelot, the company which runs the lottery, is to encourage "many people to play but to each spend relatively small amounts".

If nearly one in 100 (0.9 per cent) of people can be classified as problem gamblers then it could be argued that more resources should be going into this field.Heather Wardle, the project director on the BGPS at the Nat Cen research organisation, is researching the finances of heavy gamblers for another report due to be released later this summer."They often get into financial difficulties," she said."When the problem is extreme, they use various strategies to get more money in order to gamble and, in the most extreme situations, they will commit crime."The Gordon Moody Association, which treats the most serious addicts, estimates that they "will have severely affected the lives of at least 15 others in order to support their gambling".The National Lottery sold more tickets than ever in 2011-12, up 12 per cent in the year. These include football betting, scratchcards and online poker and bingo, according to the latest British gambling prevalence survey (BGPS)."Gambling is growing, helped by our somewhat liberal regulatory framework," said John Mc Leod, of the card game information site But nearly one per cent Britons have a gambling problem, according to the BGPS.

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