Gambling by mobile phone is booming

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The Independent Online

Gambling by mobile phone has rocketed, with the number of betting pages downloaded expected to approach three million this year, a rise of 367 per cent on 2004.

The conclusion of research by Mintel has sparked concern that the almost unlimited access to gambling provided by mobile phones will fuel a rise in addiction. Another potential problem is children gambling by phone.

Overall, the researchers estimated mobile phones would receive 30 million downloads this year - a 25-fold rise.

Ring-tones for phones account for a third of downloads. Arcade-style games are also popular (26 per cent), as are screensavers and wallpaper (13 per cent), and music (8 per cent). But the biggest growth area has been in gambling, which now accounts for 9 per cent of all downloads.

Eighty-two per cent of adults and 61 per cent of youths in Britain now own a mobile phone and the handset market alone is forecast to pass £1bn this year.