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Parts of Sussex have worst betting debts in UK
Gamblers in Sussex lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in the past year, and parts of the county have the worst betting debts in the country.
Figures released by online casino CastleCasino showed punters in Brighton lost an average £343.43 a year each.
In total, players from Brighton lost about £147,500 each year.
Worthing gamblers were even worse off, losing an average of £431.97, in total about £77,000 a year.
Only Middlesbrough (£479.29) and Liverpool (£482.42) were worse.
Dr Richard Bowskill of the Priory clinic in Hove said gambling addiction is growing.
He said: “It’s an average so there will be people who lose more – it is still high compared to annual disposable income.
“In that group will be people spending much more which can often be a sign of gambling addiction.
“When I see people they have already got into trouble, sometimes in the tens of thousands of pounds.
“I have seen patients have to make themselves bankrupt.
“Some people have lost their homes, and the problem with an addiction is they keep on doing it.”
Dr Bowskill said there were concerns about the increasing availability of online gambling, especially when mixed with alcohol.
He added: “They run into real problems with the different effects of alcohol and the buzz of gambling.”
A spokesperson for Roulette.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading online casino authorities, said: “This is very interesting research.
“It is also fascinating to see the lack of correlation between average salary and amount lost.”
Nick Pardo, venue director of Rendezvous Casino at Brighton Marina, said the figures seemed high but did not reflect all gamblers in the city.
He said: “If there’s one thing these figures show, it is that there is no rhyme or reason which determines gaming activity.
“Real-life live casinos are much more venues with a variety of things to do, including dining, tournament games such as poker, slot machines or just relaxing and socialising. Therefore, it’s not surprising pure gambling sites would see higher net losses.
“All staff in live casinos are trained to recognise signs of problem gambling. We regularly intervene and help players to self exclude if they (or we) think there may be a problem.”