Frequent gamblers concerned about cost of living crisis

GamCare is celebrating 25 years.
GamCare is celebrating 25 years.

A survey by GamCare found that concern about the current financial situation was higher among those who have lost significant amounts through gambling.

UK.- The responsible gambling charity GamCare has published the results of a survey suggesting that regular gamblers are particularly concerned about the current cost of living crisis provoked by rising inflation

The survey, conducted by YouGov, found that 61 per cent of people who have incurred significant gambling losses were worried or very worried about the situation. That compares to 46 per cent of Britons overall.

The survey was conducted among 4,000 people. GamCare, which runs the UK’s National Gambling Helpline, said the figures gel with anecdotal evidence from its own helpline advisors who noted calls from people on Universal Credit who are gambling in an attempt to make extra money to pay bills.

The charity said: “Advisors on the helpline have also reported repeat callers, who previously felt they had recovered from gambling, but have relapsed as financial pressures have heightened and have needed to seek more support for their gambling.

“Callers have also reported increasing costs as a barrier to tackling their existing debts through gambling and are further struggling to pay them back.”

The survey also identified links between problem gambling and cryptocurrency ownership. It found that 43 per cent of problem gamblers owned cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, two thirds of gamblers categorised as experiencing low-level harm bought cryptocurrency only with the aim of making money.

Those with problem gambling were also more likely to report a negative impact from buying cryptocurrency. One quarter reported wanting to invest more to recover losses (compared to 7 per cent of the overall population), and 22 per cent had been unable to pay bills (compared to 4 per cent).

GamCare celebrates 25 years

GamCare is currently marking its 25th anniversary. It has released a video featuring celebrities, such as former England footballer Peter Shilton and S Club 7 singer Jo O’Meara, discussing their own experiences of problem gambling.

GamCare chief executive Anna Hemmings said: “For 25 years, GamCare has helped people experiencing problems with gambling. Over this time, we’ve gained knowledge and expertise from working collaboratively, including with people who have lived experience, on how to best support those affected by gambling harms – including gamblers, their family and friends.

“As we turn 25, and look to the upcoming Gambling Act Review, we will continue to raise awareness of gambling issues, including newer trends, and become more accessible to help people spot the signs and reach out for support. We urge anyone who is struggling with gambling to contact us. Whether you’re concerned for yourself or for others, we’re here to support you.”

Earlier this year, GamCare announced the expansion of its treatment programme internationally via a Trained Associate model. The model will allow bodies from outside Great Britain to receive GamCare training on how to support those suffering from gambling-related harm.

GamCare, which runs 161 treatment centres in Britain, said the model is open to any group that runs social support services including counselling, mental health treatment or guidance on substance misuse.

To become a Trained Associate, applicants must be deemed suitable and go through a due diligence process to ensure they have the clinical skills and governance needed to deliver gambling harm minimisation services.

Meanwhile, an evaluation report has been published on GamCare’s Women’s Programme. It found that 85 per cent of participants improved their understanding of gambling harms, including how to identify women in need of gambling-related support.

Entering its third year, GamCare’s Women’s Programme aims to foster systemic change across policy, research and treatment to address the under-representation of women seeking support and accessing treatment for gambling harm in England, Scotland and Wales.

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