Students will learn about gambling addiction as part of a new A-level course.
The move, by one of the country’s biggest exam boards, is being billed as an attempt to train a new generation of psychologists to deal with the UK‘s growing addiction to betting, fruit machines and gaming tables.
The course will focus on the origins and influence of the gambling industry, why people sink into addiction and possible cures.
It comes just weeks after Gordon Brown left a huge question mark hanging over Government plans for a „supercasino“ in Manchester by demanding a review of the decision.
Tony Blair had championed plans for the Las Vegas-style venue, as well as 16 smaller casinos across the country, but campaigners said it would fuel the UK‘s already escalating gambling problem.
Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, who has provided material for the course, said: „Against a backdrop of gambling liberalisation and deregulation, gambling addiction looks set to increase and educating students about gambling behaviour will be of real interest.“
The module will form part of a psychology A-level drawn up by Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations, which is sat by more than 26,000 students every year.
Among the issues raised will be a focus on „irrational statements“ by regular gamblers. It includes the so-called personification of the fruit machine, with phrases such as „the machine likes me“, and explaining away debts with comments like „I lost because I wasn’t concentrating“.
Diane Cole, psychology subject officer for OCR, one of three main exam boards in England, said: „With plans for the UK‘s first super casino being reviewed by the Government, the danger of gambling addiction is very topical for students to cover as part of their A-level psychology course.“