Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Over 55,000 Woman Have Self-Excluded With Gamstop, New Report Reveals

Gamstop Self Exclusion

Gamstop has announced that more than 55,000 women have self-excluded using the service.

The self-exclusion tool provider released a brand new report this week, revealing that the number of women using the service has increased, and highlighting a concern that problem gambling among women is on the rise.

In its report, Gamstop announced that women now make up around 31% of all self-exclusions made via the service, an increase from 26% in March 2020. What’s more, Gamstop has stated that the startling new statistics show that gambling addiction is impacting women despite being widely associated with men.

According to iGamingBusiness.com, the safer gambling tool provider shared statistics from the National Gambling Treatment Service in its report, corroborating Gamstop’s claims as it found that the number of women receiving problem gambling support increased by 19% between 2015 and 2016 and increased to almost 25% in the year ending March 2020.

GamSTOP CEO Fiona Palmer said in a statement on the report: “As we begin to understand the demographic make-up of our register it is important to feed back to the various support agencies and work together to encourage those women who have registered with GamStop to access the help they may need going forward.

“50,000 female registrants is a significant number, and we are pleased that they have found the GamStop self-exclusion scheme and that it is a useful, practical tool to help with their gambling issues.”

Anna Hemmings, the CEO at GamCare, added: “We must get to grips with the unnecessary shame and stigma women feel around asking for help with gambling. Gambling is not just a male activity, and it can affect women in significant, potentially life-changing ways.

“Our dedicated Women’s Programme has told us that we need to remove barriers for women to access help with gambling-related harm – the issues that women are facing are often hidden from support services. GamCare is pleased to be able to work with GamStop so people registering for online self-exclusion can also be swiftly connected through to specialist support and treatment services, which greatly increases the chance of sustaining a recovery from gambling harms.”

Back in December 2020, GamStop joined gambling charities and services GamCare and Gamban to launch responsible gambling campaign TalkBanStop to promote the benefits of using free support services and safer gambling tools to help gambling addiction and prevent gambling-related harm.

Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission announced in March 2020 that all online gambling operators with a license from the UK Gambling Commission must participate in GamStop’s self-exclusion scheme to allow a consumer to self-exclude from all operators via a single request.

New Study Finds Link Between Gambling, Unemployment, And Mortality Rates

GamStop’s news comes after a new report from the University of Oxford’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention has found a link between gambling, unemployment, and mortality rates.

According to FocusGN, the study, which was led by Dr Naomi Muggleton, claims to be the largest of its kind. It analysed over 100,000 gambler banking transactions and found that the top 1% of gamblers deposit an average of 58% of their income. The mean average annual net deposit was £1,345, while the median average was £125.

The University of Oxford’s study also found a link between higher levels of gambling and increased borrowing. According to the study, a 10% increase in gambling spend was linked to a 51.5% increase in payday loan uptake as well as a 97.5% chance of missing a mortgage payment.

In addition, the study found that many players who deposited large amounts of money rapidly increased their spend and it found that higher gambling levels led to a 37% increase in mortality, though the study’s authors couldn’t confirm whether the link was casual or not.

Speaking about the study, Dr Naomi Muggleton said: “To me, the striking finding is the extent to which even low levels of gambling are associated with harm. For many years, there has been a focus on outcomes among the most extreme gamblers. Our work shows that financial distress, social ills, and poorer health are more prevalent among low-level gamblers.”

She added: “It’s unclear whether gambling causes negative outcomes, or whether already vulnerable people are disproportionately targeted by bookmakers, for example, through advertising and locating betting shops in impoverished neighbourhoods. Either of these relationships is worrying and could have implications for public health policies.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Peter Tutton, the Head of Policy at debt charity StepChange, said of the study: “The financial effects of problem gambling do make people more vulnerable to problem debt. We hope the gambling sector and Government will work hard ahead to break this link by ensuring proper protections are put in place.”

Labour MP and head of the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group Carolyn Harris added: “These findings are the most conclusive evidence yet of the gambling industry profiteering from the vulnerable and those in severe financial hardship. The Government needs to get a grip and properly regulate this toxic industry.”

The release of the report comes as the UK Government is carrying out its review of the Gambling Act 2005 and, according to sources close to the Prime Minister, is looking at making major reforms into the way gambling is regulated and operates in the country. Some of the changes imposed may include stake limits, a ban on shirt sponsorships, and tighter verification checks.

Meanwhile, an argument has erupted between the gambling operators, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), and the UK Gambling Commission. The BGC and gambling operators have warned that over-regulation in the United Kingdom could push users towards registering and playing at unlicensed websites, claims the Commission has rebutted and described as “exaggerations”.