Tuesday, 21 July 2020

UK Gambling Addiction Centre Launches First-Ever 24-Hour Online Service

Gambling Addiction

UK gambling addiction centre Leon House has launched the world’s first-ever 24/7 online gambling treatment service.

Leon House announced the launch of its AnonyMind service this month. Developed with Cognacity, a specialist mental health and addition treatment provider, and EPIC Risk Management, Leon House claims its AnonyMind service is the world’s first-ever online 24/7 service and aims to provide problem gamblers with the support and help they need to better themselves.

According to FocusGN, the service will provide anonymous and impartial psychiatric assessment and identify symptoms of gambling-related harm in players. Leon House has stated that it is working with over 100 consultants as well as with a vast network of psychologists and psychiatrists to offer its treatment services via video calls.

Anyone who uses the service will be given a personalised treatment pathway either though the AnonyMind platform or as a patient at the Leon House clinic. The centre will also host mental health workshops too.

Leon House Chief Operating Officer Chris Metcalf said in a statement: “The recent £100 million pledge to GambleAware from five BGC member operators shows that there is a real commitment from the UK gaming industry to help and support problem gamblers. Now, with the launch of AnonyMind by Leon House, these same operators will be able to offer free, anonymous, 24/7 professional counselling to their players via video calls for the first time ever and resident treatment at Leon House should it be required.”

Carolyn Harris, Labour MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm, said of the service: “It’s vital that people who are stuck in this vicious cycle are able to access support when they need it. AnonyMind’s new 24-hour service allows users to get confidential, secure support whenever they might need it. I would encourage anybody who is struggling with gambling addiction to take a look at this platform and reach out for support if they need it.”

 GambleAware Says More Gambling Addiction Research Is Needed

The news comes as GambleAware has published its quarterly briefing, providing industry stakeholders with an update on what the charity has so far achieved as well as its future plans to support the National Gambling Treatment Service.

In the report, GambleAware revealed it was going to spend time focusing on “gambling disorder” as previous research has indicated that around 1 in 2 people suffering from gambling-related harm has not accessed any support or treatment services. GambleAware claims there may be a resistance to seeking out help regarding gambling addictions.

With this in mind, GambleAware has suggested in its report that more work should be undertaken to raise awareness of gambling addiction as well as its symptoms, many of which are unnoticed by the family or friends of an addict.

According to the charity’s quarterly briefing, titled Keeping People Safe From Gambling Harms, GambleAware will publish a new five-year strategy in March 2021 but in the meantime will continue to focus on extending the National Gambling Treatment Service with the NHS, healthcare professionals, voluntary organisations, and more.

It will also continue to promote nation-wide campaigns such as Bet Regret to help raise awareness about gambling among vulnerable people and those who are underaged. The charity has also promised to provide practical support to GP services, mental health services, prisons, professional sports, schools, and youth workers too.

Finally, GambleAware will also focus on its Lived Experience Programme which aims to create a special interest group for people who’ve undergone gambling addiction treatment and collaborating with them to create a network of people who have experienced gambling harm.

The news comes after the charity called on banks to improve their gambling payment blockers following the publishing of a new study in partnership with the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC). According to the study, around 28 million current accounts in the UK do not have access to gambling payment blockers.

GambleAware urged banks and financial groups to offer these services to its customers and encouraged them to introduce permanent locks. Other recommendations made by GambleAware include requiring UK firms to promote its blockers as standard features and requiring financial groups to develop additional tools to help vulnerable people.

A Big Donation To GambleAware

GambleAware’s report comes just days after gambling and bingo operator Praesepe, owned by Gauselmann Group UK, pledged to donate £84,000 to the charity. The firm currently owns over 160 gambling centres and five bingo clubs. As reported by InterGameOnline, the funds will cover the first quarter of the fiscal year ending on June 1st, and it will be comprised of 144 donations of £50 or more.

Praesepe COO Mark Schertle said in a statement: “Compliance and social responsibility are at the heart of everything that we do. There are a certain number of important social responsibility commitments that we undertake ourselves, including the on-going investment in our dedicated training facilities, the deployment of the consumer0facing Playright app throughout all of our venues, the support of Responsible Gambling Week, and the promotion of safer gambling messaging, utilising 4,000 of our estate of digital B3 and Category C machines.

“However, there are also areas that require highly specialist insight and experience which is why it is so important to contribute to research, education, and treatment in order to help reduce further the 0.5 per cent of adults who experience problems relating to gambling.”

Praesepe hopes its donation will provide GambleAware with the funding needed to continue its work on the research and the treatment of gambling-related harm. Meanwhile, many of Praesepe’s Merkur Cashino venues have re-opened now in the UK while most other casino venues in England have been forced to wait until August 1st to officially re-open.

However, the government’s decision came late as Genting Casino has revealed it will be cutting around 1,600 jobs and permanently closing three casinos in response to the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. Similarly, Buzz Bingo, the operator of brick-and-mortar bingo venues and an online bingo site, have announced that they will be axing jobs and closing 26 bingo halls across the country. The venue closure and job cuts come in response to the government’s lack of communication regarding the re-opening of gambling venues.