Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Calls to National Gambling Helpline Rise 30%, According to New Report

Calls to the National Gambling Helpline have risen by 30% over the last five years, a new report has revealed.

Figures from the National Gambling Helpline have revealed that the charity answered 29,889 calls between 2017 and 2018, up from 22,875 for the years 2013-2014.

The helpline is funded by Gamble Aware, a national charity that is funded by donations from the gambling industry.

Ana Hemmings, the Chief Executive of the National Gambling Helpline, revealed that two-thirds of the calls were about financial problems while 50% of those who called were worried about their mental health.

Speaking to BBC News, Hemmings then encouraged people who think they have a gambling addiction to contact the helpline as soon as possible.

She said: “We can work very effectively and in quite a short space of time. That will help reduce the impact on family and the impact of gambling-related harm more broadly.”

The founders of charity Gambling with Lives insisted that more needs to be done to highlight the dangers of gambling and to regulate the industry.

The charity was created by relatives of gamblers who took their own lives and Liz and Charles Ritchie co-founded the organisation after their 24-year-old son Jack took his own life in Vietnam last year.

According to the couple, Jack had begun gambling at 17 by visiting betting shops during his school lunch break. When he admitted his problem a year later, he had reportedly lost thousands of pounds.

The couple believed Jack would “grow out of” the addiction but admitted that his death was “totally out of the blue”.

Tackling Gambling Addictions

Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission announced that it is working with the industry to protect those at risk of harm.

In a statement, Tim Miller, the Executive Director of the UK Gambling Commission: “It is important that those struggling with gambling are able to access support when they need it.

“But a focus on preventing harm in the first place is equally important [and] that’s why we will continue to take actions to require gambling companies to spot those being harmed by gambling and step in to protect them.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “We are cutting the maximum fixed odds betting terminal stake to £2 and introducing increased safeguards on online gambling.

“On top of that, we have brought in tougher rules on betting adverts and ensured the betting industry funds a new multi-million-pound responsible gambling campaign.”

The news comes as the Church of England, the owner of Coral and Ladbrokes, the Labour Party and more back a ban on gambling advertisements during live sports and before the watershed period.