Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Almost Half Of All UK Problem Gamblers Avoid Help, New Report Says

Gambling Addiction

A new report from GambleAware has revealed that nearly all half of problem gamblers in the UK have not accessed any support or treatment services.

The report, which released this week, was conducted by a group of researches which included the National Centre for Social Research. Around 12,161 adults were surveyed between September 24th and October 13, 2019, and researchers used the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) to decide if someone was a high, moderate, or low-risk problem gambler.

The researches found that 13% of the adults surveyed scored one or higher on the PGSI scale. Of the group, 7% were low-risk, 3% were moderate, and 3% were high-risk. Of those that identify as gamblers with a score of one or higher on the PGSI index, 17% have used some form of treatment.  What’s more, the report found that 17% of those problem gamblers didn’t think gambling was harmful and 27% of those surveyed felt a stigma or shame against accessing the required treatment and support.

Researchers also found several other issues that prevent problem gamblers from accessing treatment including a lack of awareness of the mental health issue, time constraints, cost, as well as personal reasons such as ill-health. The report found that female gamblers are three times more likely than men to refer to practical barriers that prevent them from accessing treatment. The most common barriers were claimed to be the cost, time, and location of treatment services. What’s more, people from BAME and young adults are more likely to participate in gambling activities.

The report from GambleAware also stated that the needs of people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were not adequately met and 17% of these gamblers claimed that nothing would motivate them into seeking treatment for their problematic behaviour. Regarding problem gambling, the study found that 7% of respondents found that their problematic gambling behaviour impacted those around them including family and friends, and one of five of the affected others experienced harm themselves.

What They Say

Marc Etches, the Chief Executive of GambleAware, said in a statement: “This research has shown that there is a clear need to further strengthen and improve the existing treatment and support on offer, to develop routes into treatment and to reduce barriers to accessing help.

“Services have to be flexible to meet the needs of individuals and easy to access. This research shows how the need for support and the way it is accessed may vary according to gender and demographic factors such as ethnic group, location or whether a person has additional health needs.”

He continued: “Meeting the needs highlighted in this report will require partnerships between the statutory and voluntary sectors, both those services specific to gambling treatment and other health and support provisions. Working with those with lived experiences is essential in designing and promoting access to services, as well as helping to prevent relapse. It is important to engage community institutions including faith groups, to help make more people aware of the options available to them and ensure no one feels excluded from services.”

As a result of the study, GambleAware has urged that gambling addiction services should be tailored towards those groups which are less likely to seek out treatment. The charity has also called for the development of educational programs and campaigns to increase the awareness of gambling-related harms and addiction.