It was January and freezing cold. The four-year-old had been locked inside the car for more than 8 hours when the Casino patrol guards found her. She was shivering and wet - the blankets that were meant to keep her warm had been used to cover the rear windows of the car, so that nobody could see inside. The perpetrator of this heart-wrenching act was none other than her own mother, who had been inside the Maryland Live Casino all these 8 hours. The police arrested her a while later for reckless child abandonment. The incident is not the first one of its kind, but adds to the long list of similar acts of neglect by parents with gambling problems, pointing out how dangerous gambling addiction can become. In Britain, some 600,000 people are reported to be suffering from some form of gambling addiction. Most of the problem gamblers are now young people. GamCare records show that more than 60% of people calling for help are aged between 18 and 35. The reason: online gambling. "You can be in the pub, park, car, or subway, and you can be gambling on mobile." Says Jack, a 22-year-old from Leeds who says he could have paid for his University degree instead of squandering away as much as £20,000 betting online. "It's lethal". Research has shown that the automated slot machines and video poker machines pull players into a trance-like state, making them forget everyday worries and urging them to stay in that "machine-zone". People gambling online through their mobiles can be zoned out into a similar space, where they like to stay for long periods of time because of the "high" that is similar to that caused by a drug. A growing number of gambling addicts are women, whose numbers have doubled in the recent years. Cashcade, an online Bingo site admits 80% of its revenues come from women. Women with gambling problems usually seek help a bit too late, after having lost a substantial amount of money, if not everything to their gambling addiction. Much of the increase in problem gambling among youth and women can be attributed to the mushrooming growth of mobile and online gambling. The government has relaxed the curbs on gambling advertising and gambling is going to stay on the high street as well as on mobile screens. There's a need to educate the youth about the hazards of gambling irresponsibly, as they are more likely to give in to impulses because of their innovative nature. Any time that you feel you or one of the people you care about is falling into a pattern that might lead to gambling addiction, you should seek help. The tell-tale signs of gambling addictions include a sudden and regular increase in your gambling expenses, an inability to stop thinking about your next or past gambles even when you are not gambling, complaints from friends, family or coworkers that you are not spending enough time with them, and so on. Gambling addiction afflicts only a thin minority of gamblers. For others, it's a fun activity that helps them break the mold of routine and relieves stress. Did you ever feel you were holed to gambling? Share your experience in your comments.