GamCare’s lived experience feedback highlights problem gambling’s ‘support gap’

By | March 31, 2021

GamCare, the charity operating the National Gambling Helpline, has stated that research and feedback from ‘lived experience’ must lead UK gambling’s much-needed reforms. 

The charity has published the findings from a survey conducted on 343 of its ‘service users’ for the government’s ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act. 

The survey focused on its users’ experience with licensed operators and how ‘gambling issues’ should be confronted with regards to policies, protection and safeguards.

GamCare revealed that two-thirds (64%) of participants thought that were not enough dedicated resources providing problem gambling treatment support.

55% of respondents surveyed, stated that they had received treatment support provided by safer gambling charities such as GamCare.

As a result, GamCare has urged the government’s review to increase investment in research, education and treatment to protect and support vulnerable gamblers from experiencing harms.

Survey findings revealed that 84% of respondents wanted to see licensed companies cover the cost of research, education and treatment for gambling harms.

The charity states that government investment in treatment should focus on ‘inclusive support’ that reflects the needs of all communities.

With regards to safer gambling policies, 71% of respondents would support further limits introduced to online gambling accounts and 83% want to see a ban on VIP schemes.

With regards to advertising, an overwhelming 80% of those surveyed desired a blanket ban on betting companies sponsoring sports events, with 83% specifically favouring a ban on football shirt sponsorships.

Furthermore, 83% of respondents stated that all gambling advertising content should be required to be targeted at the 18-25-year-old age bracket.

Gamcare stated its users wanted UK media to project a broader awareness of negative impacts on problem gamblers, their families and personal relationships

Further policy directives saw GamCare support the introduction of a Civic Ombudsman for UK gambling to deal with public disputes and as a means to ensure greater resources provided for regulating the industry relationship with consumers.  

As a gambling stakeholder, GamCare supports a collaborative approach with licensed operators to reduce harms and improve safeguards.

The Charity stated that it would appeal for its ‘GamCare Safer Gambling Standard’ to be used as a quality mark for licensed gambling businesses to promote to customers.

“The review of the 2005 Gambling Act has come at just the right time as we are climbing out of lockdown in the UK, and the increase those seeking help with their online gambling has become a worrisome problem,” said Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare.

“We want people to realise the first step is to seek non-judgmental help from our trained advisers after what has been a terribly damaging year for us all.

“Gambling is a serious health harm and we welcome discussion to bring this problem to the forefront of addiction issues, and to ensure we can secure sustainable funds to meet the needs of those affected.”