Gambling addiction fear over council-run lotteries

 Middlesbrough agreed on Thursday to join more than 60 councils running weekly lotteries, with more considered.

People providing addiction support services questioned whether councils were providing a "gateway to gambling".

Experts said although weekly lotteries were a "low-risk" form of gambling, there was no such thing as "no risk".

Middlesbrough said coronavirus had had a "serious impact" on its finances.

Chris Hill, from Sidcup, who recovered from a gambling addiction several years ago, said councils - one in six of which are running similar weekly lotteries - should be "more responsible" by looking elsewhere with their fundraising.

"They should be looking at the long-term effects of this and whether this is a gateway to further gambling," he said.

The 47-year-old, who now runs support services for those battling addiction, said: "If there's even a 1% risk [lotteries] are going to cause pain and someone might pick up a gambling addiction, should they be doing it?"

The Gambling Commission classes lotteries as "low-risk products".

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction at Nottingham Trent University, agrees but said councils who set up lotteries had a "duty of care" to players.

He said: "It's not to say people cannot have problems. For example, you can decide you want to spend £50 a week on tickets - which could be indicative of a problem for an individual, depending on their disposable income.

Read BBC news article here