Gambling addicts who want help with their dependence are facing a long wait, according to a Milton Keynes charity that offers free counselling.
Options has a list of more than 30 prospective clients but only three counsellors working one day a week.
Alison May – one of the trio, pictured right – said: “It’s typically seen as a male issue, but there has been a significant rise in the number of female gamblers – probably because of easy access via the internet at home. She added: “Anyone can get hooked, there isn’t a specific personality type. And having a casino in town obviously has an impact. There wouldn’t be an agency here if there wasn’t a problem.
“It affects people in different ways, from stopping some saving to literally losing everything – not being able to pay the mortgage, being on the breadline.
“We offer those who pass our assessment 12 sessions – and it’s not an easy commitment.
“We use the triangle as a pictorial way of showing how gambling is enabled - through money, time and access. We discuss ways of reducing these elements with financial control, distraction methods and blocking access.
“There’s talk of an ‘addictive personality’ but normal people can have a problem and that problem can be addressed.”
> Counselling is funded by Gamcare. For details call 01256 843203 or visit www.optionscounselling.co.uk