GambleAware Concerned Over Lack Of Support Awareness During Lockdown
A new study commissioned by charity GambleAware has revealed that over half of all gamblers in the United Kingdom claim to have gambled the same amount during lockdown as they normally would.
The study, which was conducted by YouGov earlier this year, has revealed that more than 50% of all gamblers across the nation continued gambling as normal between March and May 2020 during the early parts of the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown.
What’s more, the study found that 41% of those surveyed gambled less than normal while 4% claimed they had gambled more than usual during the same period. The study also found that one in five problem gamblers, which has been defined as people with a Problem Gambling Severity Index score of more than eight, claimed to have gambled more during the early lockdown period.
Of the people surveyed, 52% said they gambled to relieve boredom or “for something to do” while 30% of the people who gambled less claimed they had no desire to gamble. Meanwhile, 5% of those surveyed said they had used safer gambling tools during the lockdown period while more than 60% of problem gamblers said reported tool usage during the same period.
As reported by GamblingInsider, YouGov and GambleAware’s study also found that overall gambling rates fell by 10% between October 2019 and May 2020. The main exception to this was online casino games of which participation rates increased from 1.5% to 2.3% during the same period.
In addition, the study found that many gamblers experienced barriers when it came to seeking treatment. These barriers included a lack of awareness of online support available, the stigma attached to gambling-related harm, as well as a decrease in the number of appointments available with mental health professionals during the UK’s lockdown.
YouGov and GambleAware’s study comes as part of GambleAware’s Treatment Needs and Gap Analysis scheme through which the charity hopes to better understand the need and demand for gambling help and support.
Speaking to CasinoBeats about the study, GambleAware Deputy Chair Sian Griffiths said: “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.”
“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 Service, 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.”
The news comes after casino venues across parts of Scotland, England, and throughout Wales have been ordered to close as new Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have been imposed in the last few weeks as part of a move to clamp down on the rising number of infections.
Gauselmann UK’s New Social Responsibility Initiative
Also this week, Gauselmann UK, a subsidiary of German company the Gauselmann Group, announced the launch of a new social responsibility initiative which will see the formation of a social responsibility advisory board and will help create new dedicated roles focused on customer experience.
The group, which operators dozens of adult gaming centres (AGCs) across the UK, has partnered with Global Gambling Guidance Group (G4), an Amsterdam-based responsible gambling standards body, to create the new initiative through which the company conducted “cultural assessments” of its business via staff interviews and created a plan of action.
As reported by iGaming Business, the plan of action includes the formation of a six-person advisory board comprised of several senior executives and external specialists, all of whom will partner to create new infrastructure for a “more socially responsible business”.
Reports claim the advisory board will set key objectives and performance indicators for the business while also establishing methods to measure success. The board will also be responsible for coming up with new ideas to raise standards across the business by drawing inspiration from other industries.
Gauselmann UK has revealed its already explained its plan and goals to the UK Gambling Commission, charities GamCare and YGAM, and to game machine association Bacta, all of whom are “very supportive” of what the company is looking to achieve.
Speaking about the new social responsibility initiative, Gauselmann UK Managing Director Sascha Blodau said in a statement: “We want to ensure that we are establishing the very highest standards in order to deliver a safe gambling entertainment experience for all our customers in particular those that may require additional levels of support.
“The aim in everything that we do – whether that’s games design, customer service, or the experience of visiting one of our 160 Merkur Casino AGCs – is to be the very best in the business and that also extends to delivering the most effective social responsibility undertakings.”
Blodau added: “When it comes to protecting the vulnerable and the very small percentage of players who may experience problems from low-stake gambling entertainment, you can never do enough, it’s a journey without there actually being a final destination.”
The Gauselmann UK’s announcement of its social responsibility initiative comes after charity GamCare called for more awareness of gambling-related harm and urged its treatment support workers as well as stakeholders to raise awareness of the issue.
Meanwhile, the Betting and Gaming Council with the UK Gambling Commission have been imposing new rules on the gambling industry as part of an effort to protect vulnerable gamblers and drive up standards. Some of the recent rules include changes to the design and play of video slots, a ban on using credit cards for gambling, and new rules to “stamp out” VIP malpractice.