GambleAware research shows fall in problem gambling treatment during COVID-19

20th October 2020 8:24 am GMT

Britain’s independent gambling addiction charity GambleAware has called on the government and National Health Service to do more to promote awareness of the online and telephone services available to help problem gamblers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call follows the publication of new research conducted by YouGov on behalf of GambleAware, which found that 93 per cent of gamblers in Britain either reduced or maintained their level of gambling spend during the pandemic, with just 4 per cent of gamblers reporting an increase in spend.

The concern is that those with a higher problem gambling risk under the PGSI screening system were more likely to have increased their spend during the period, despite more than 63 per cent of problem gamblers having reported using safer gambling tools provided by online operators. In contrast, reported usage of treatment, advice and support services fell by 1 per cent during the period.

The qualitative research in the report revealed several barriers to seeking treatment, including a lack of awareness of online professional support services, a reduction in the number of appointments available with a mental health professional due to COVID-19, and no face-to-face options during lockdown.

“The findings published today show there is a concerning lack of awareness and use of the gambling treatment and services which exist to provide support and care. While gambling rates seem not to have increased during lockdown, it is alarming that gambling participation amongst those who are gambling are increasing amongst the most vulnerable groups,” said Sian Griffiths, deputy chair of GambleAware.

“With more restrictive measures being put into place across the country to control the Covid-19 pandemic, it is absolutely essential that the Government, National Health Services, and charities across Great Britain continue to work together in partnership to promote and improve awareness of the online and telephone services available for gambling treatment, such as the National Gambling Treatment Service and the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133.”  

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