26th May 2000 at 01:00
Scratch-cards and fruit machines are so effortlessly accessible that about three out of four adolescents participate in gambling. Like any pleasure that involves buying entertainment, it can become expensively addictive. GamCare has produced a pack for those working with teenagers whose gambling tendencies might cause anxiety. While maintaining a morally neutral stance, it provides facts and advice on help and self-help, as wll as an informed understanding of why the habit is popular. It also offers access to a helpline where confidential counselling can be obtained when safe bets risk turning into serious debts. Contact Michael Smeaton, education officer at GamCare, National Association for Gambling Care, Suite 1, Catherine House, 25-27 Catherine Place, Westminster, London SW1E 6DU. Helpline: 0845 6000 133. Website:

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