Gambling addiction - A stacked deck

SO many of the addictions that beset this society, ruining lives and breaking up families, are plain to see. An alcohol addiction or a cocaine habit can be concealed for only so long and the crisis will be all too apparent to those with eyes to see.

However, an individual’s addiction to gambling, as destructive as any other addiction, may not surface as quickly but the consequences can be every bit as devastating.

It can be, for far too long, a hidden mania that can drive ordinarily rational people to the most dangerous extremes. This reality intrudes more and more into the lives of those vulnerable to this wretched addiction as a mobile phone is so often just a personal, 24/7 bookies’ office. The affliction and its temptations are all but inescapable.

Yesterday, in Antrim, All-Ireland winner John Malachy McGurk pleaded guilty to stealing more than €700,000 to feed his “terrible addiction to gambling”. We have failed to control the worst of the internet, so maybe McGurk’s conviction might reopen the debate around how we might limit internet casinos and bookies and the damage they can cause.


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