Licking the gambling problem

Jackpot gambling creates a unique set of problems for addicts, as they are hooked on the games and seem to be in a trance-like state when playing, said experts.

Some jackpot machine addicts may also find themselves skipping meals, and having an illusion of control over the machine.

As those who play jackpot machines tend to be "escape gamblers" seeking to avoid problems in real life, they may also require more targeted forms of treatment focused on helping them cope with negative emotions, said National Addictions Management Service (Nams) senior psychologist Lawrence Tan.

About 14 per cent of gamblers seen by Nams engage in jackpot machine gambling, and nine out of 10 are men aged around 40 on average.

While the problem gambling rate dropped from 2.6 per cent in 2011 to 0.7 per cent in 2014, according to a gambling survey carried out every three years by the National Council on Problem Gambling, analysis from consultancy H2 Gambling Capital also found that gamblers in Singapore suffered the second-greatest losses per capita in the world last year, after Australia.

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