I know first hand how gambling can ruin lives. A close family friend lost his house to gambling and had a huge debt problem. Gambling is ruining people’s lives and can be one of the reasons families are breaking down. A report by the Gambling Commission found that more than 2 million people are addicted to gambling or at risk of developing a problem. The number of British over-16s deemed to be problem gamblers has grown by a third in three years, suggesting that about 430,000 people suffer from a serious habit. Gambling can be in the form of online to casinos.
There are many reasons why people gamble but when this becomes an addiction it becomes a serious issue. The initial reasons why people may gamble can easily spiral out of control and most people spend more than they can afford resulting in debt. People lose their homes, possessions, jobs and even marriages. Serious debt can lead to depression and a host of other mental health problems and even suicide.
At the biological level, compulsive behaviours can have a direct effect on the brains dopamine reward system. This system regulates our responses to natural rewards like food, sex and social interaction. Repeated compulsive behaviours can act on this system with a power and persistence that changes its cells chemically and structurally. This in turn can have an overwhelming effect on our well-being. People may no longer respond normally to rewards such as food, sex and social interaction, and instead depend on gambling for their sense of reward – Mental health foundation.
We must treat gambling in the exact same way as alcohol and drugs as it is an addiction.
So many lives have been destroyed with this addiction and the Government needs to address this issue and stop the advertising of gambling on TV. Gambling adverts glamorize and encourage you to gamble as you could win big however the truth is more people are in debt than ever before and crime rates have gone up due to this. People often find themselves turning to crime to pay for their gambling habits.
The Quran often condemns gambling and alcohol together in the same verse, recognizing both as a social disease which is addictive and destroys personal and family lives. “O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, dedication of stones, and divination by arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handwork. Eschew such abomination, that you may prosper” (Quran 5:90).
We urge the Government to tighten regulations and ban gambling advertising urgently!