Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by PROMIS Counselling Centre

  In response to your question "could Call TV Quiz Shows become addictive," we would have to say a resounding yes. Engaging in the process is effectively a form of gambling, where the individual viewer risks the cost of the call (anything from 60p to £1 per minute) in order to win the jackpot (anything up to £100,000).

  Call TV quiz shows are not so much about getting the right answer, but rather about being one of thousands with the right answer who may or may not win.

  Therefore it is largely chance, not personal merit, which is rewarded. A viewer may repeat this process over and over again for the "flutter" which it provides, and the programme colludes with their fantasy that their feelings and circumstances could be radically transformed in the "instant fix" of a win.

  Invariably, gambling addicts are people who are not facing up to life on life's terms, which often includes the failure to earn a living or to embrace financial responsibility. Television companies appear to be exploiting this vulnerability in order to augment their own profits.

  We frequently treat gambling addicts at Promis, for whom the fantasy of personal transformation—as the result of a large cash win—is particularly tenacious. However, Call TV quiz shows are still a relatively new phenomenon, and have not yet been identified as a serious problem, in the way that online gambling has been.

16 November 2006

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