London: Excluding those who only enter the National Lottery, the proportion of the female population who gamble has soared by a third to more than half for the first time. There has been a surge in gambling by women over the past decade, experts have warned MPs.
So many women are now problem gamblers that one addiction centre in London is offering child-minding services to encourage mothers to attend.
There have been particularly large rises in the numbers of women buying scratch cards, playing slot machines and betting online.
At the same time the number of ‘grey gamblers' — over-75s and particularly widowed people — who have taken up betting has increased. The revelation comes just weeks after the Daily Mail disclosed that teenagers are now twice as likely to have a gambling problem as adults.
A submission by the National Centre for Social Research to the Commons culture select committee, which is investigating the working of Labour's 2005 Gambling Act, gives details of the changing profile of gamblers over the past decade.
The researchers wrote: "We see more women and older people becoming involved with gambling and an increase in the proportion of people who gamble regularly."