Study highlights positive results of UK NGTS

The study analysed 14,500 referrals and 95,000 appointments.
The study analysed 14,500 referrals and 95,000 appointments.

GambleAware’s poll found that the majority of users of the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS) reported improved well-being.

UK.- The industry-backed responsible gambling charity and grant maker GambleAware has reported positive feedback on the UK’s National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS). It found that the majority of people significantly improved their well-being and reduced their gambling behaviour after six appointments with the service. 

The study analysed 14,500 qualifying referrals and 95,000 attended appointments. It found that 77 per cent of problem gamblers who completed treatment showed significant clinical improvement, while 56 per cent showed improvement in their well-being.  

Completion of treatment linked to results

Completion of treatment was linked to more positive results. Those who completed their treatment were 78 per cent more likely to have a positive clinical change in both gambling behaviours and general well-being than those who dropped out from treatment. Treatment length also correlated with improvements in the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). Behaviours including chasing losses diminished significantly after the first three appointments before levelling out.

Some 81 per cent of those analysed completed their treatment, which comprised an average 6.6 sessions over 12 weeks. Significant differences in improvement were observed at weeks 14 and 11, for well-being and gambling behaviours respectively. 

Anna Hargrave, chief commissioning officer at GambleAware, said: “We know the National Gambling Treatment Service makes a real difference to service users and we’ve already seen how its user-led approach can a have a positive impact on the lives of people experiencing gambling harms across Britain. 

“However, it is encouraging to see new findings highlighting how fast improvement can happen. These novel insights into the potential optimum range of appointments, and the importance of supporting users to not miss sessions and completing treatment, will help make the service even more effective. This could mean more people are helped, and more quickly.”

Ben Hickman, one of the authors of the report, said: “These findings add to the growing body of research highlighting the efficacy of the National Gambling Treatment Service. The assessment and treatment of problem gambling is a relatively new field, with depressingly expanding demand, and it is important for us to continuously challenge our own assumptions about what works.”

He added: “We must be open to challenging the way that we have done things while being realistic that for those on the frontline data is secondary to their role of helping people improve their lives. We hope this report goes some way towards moving the conversation forwards.

Last month, a Bournemouth University study commissioned by GambleAware flagged up “poor and inconsistent” signposting of safer gambling information in online gaming. The study concludes that operators should provide more transparent information and promotional materials to help reduce gambling harm.

The university reported on four studies that formed part of Responsible Gambling Projects. The first was an initial scoping review on the extent and diversity of peer-reviewed academic research on online gambling. That was followed by a narrative and systematic review of transparency in safer gambling and a content analysis of transparency in UK gambling websites.

GambleAware said the study showed that the UK government’s gambling white paper needed to be published as soon as possible to avoid further gambling harm.

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