The typical "problem gambling" patient at the National Problem Gambling Clinic (NPGC) in Central London is most likely to be a man in his mid-30s who has a white collar job.
According to an audit from the country's first NHS gambling centre, such men have one or even two jobs to help fuel their addiction.
AdvertisementPsychiatrists say that that there exists a surprising number of City workers and graduates who keep their gambling entirely hidden from colleagues.
They say that some of these people are those who picked up the habit while at university.
They described the findings as highly unusual, compared with normal sociological patterns of gambling addiction, which tended to be greater among the working classes.
They added that the economic downturn might have exacerbated money pressures and psychiatric problems, but it also increased the likelihood of patients seeking help.
The audit covered 260 patients with an average age of 36. Two thirds were employed, with many described as "highly functioning". Only 3 per cent were women.
"It is very unusual because we are looking at a highly functioning group of individuals overall. These are people who are skilled at what they do and are respected and trusted by their employers," Times Online quoted Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a consultant psychiatrist who set up the clinic, as saying.
Calling the flood of referrals was "worrying and fascinating", Dr. Bowden-Jones stressed the importance of NHS involvement.
So far, gambling treatment has been offered by self-help groups, charities and private clinics that are beyond the budgets of most problem gamblers.
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