In every country where gambling is legal, there are concerns about problem gambling. From within the gambling industry, the negative effects that continued publicity about problem gambling can have are a cause for concern and to those outside the industry and who oppose gambling the social problems linked to compulsive gambling are a major concern. The growth of online gambling has added to the possible problems as has the easy accessibility of high street betting shops in some European countries. In the United Kingdom last year around 28 million people engaged in some form of gambling.
Among this group are some compulsive gamblers who have tried everything to quit. One of these addicted gamblers is Alex Woolliscroft from Stockport in England.Alex Woolliscroft recently made the headlines when he implored high street bookmakers in his home town to ban him from entering their premises. The 26 year old who runs a barber shop claims that over the years that he has been addicted to gambling that he has lost about 25 000 pounds sterling. Alex Woolliscroft does acknowledge that his continued gambling is his own fault but feels that he has done everything to have himself banned from even entering bookmaker shops in his town. Four years ago he first handed photos of himself into several bookmakers and repeated this last summer but still he managed to continue to lose money gambling.By handing in his photo to the betting shops, Alex Woolliscroft was engaging in a form of “self exclusion” which is a programme run by many casinos and betting shop operators. Woolliscroft recently lost 240 pounds on a roulette machine in a William Hill betting shop. William Hill says that it has a self exclusion policy which is in place with up to 500 gamblers involved including Alex Woolliscroft but the company does admit that it could be by passed so now it is requiring compulsive gamblers to renew their self exclusions every year. The company is working with Alex Woolliscroft at the moment.