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‘It’s the perfect storm’: Why gambling addictions are harder to manage under lockdown

Boredom, isolation and online adverts could create the ideal conditions for a relapse, finds Helen Coffey

Thursday 07 May 2020 16:15 BST
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Online gambling is more tempting than ever under lockdown
Online gambling is more tempting than ever under lockdown (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“Under normal circumstances I have huge worries about the ability of this industry to captivate, and hold hostage almost, people that it ensnares in its trap,” declared MP Carolyn Harris at the end of April. ”And it’s just going to get worse.”

The MP for Swansea East was talking about gambling addiction – and her fear that lockdown could provide all the conditions necessary for those struggling to suffer a relapse. “In many cases they will lose everything they own, and in some really tragic cases they will lose their lives,” she said.

Strong words, but it wasn’t an empty statement. Gambling addiction charities have warned that the negative impacts of social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic could hit the community of those in recovery hard.

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