GambleAware: Support services underused by Scottish problem gamblers

GambleAware has identified further regional discrepancies regarding gambling harm across Great Britain, highlighting how Scotland has the least engagement with support services.

The charity has released a series of interactive maps in recent weeks designed to break down the experience of gambling harm across Great Britain’s countries of England, Scotland and Wales, which make up three of the four nations of the UK.

According to the maps, Scottish people facing gambling harm are less likely to access support and treatment services than the Great Britain average, engaging with such services at a rate of 17% as opposed to an island-wide rate of 21%.

Additionally, the proportion of this group in Scotland – the second most populous country in Great Britain – was also lower than the general British average of 19.4% at 15.5%. 

Gambling participation in Scotland as a whole, meanwhile, remains fairly consistent with Great Britain-wide levels, with 60.5% of people in the country, or 2.7 million adults, participating, whilst 60.3% of people across the three nations do so.

Zoë Osmond, Chief Executive of GambleAware, said: “Gambling harms can affect anyone, and we are concerned to see that fewer people are accessing treatment and support in Scotland.  

“As the leading gambling harms charity in Great Britain, we’ve published these maps and data to provide information to help address treatment and support needs in local communities.”

Geographically, the five local areas with the lowest levels of engagement with gambling support services were Glasgow City, Dundee City, North Lanarkshire, Aberdeen City and the City of Edinburgh.

Further stats show that people in Scotland classed as facing ‘gambling problems’ who accessed treatment were less likely to do so because of financial worries (29.2%) and were less likely to cite factors such as the risk of losing a job or home (12.6%).

As with the Great Britain-wide maps, the data for Scotland is based on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), with anyone scoring higher than +1 on the index classed as facing problem gambling to some extent.

The charity is currently developing its National Gambling Support Network (NGSN), and seeks to provide stakeholders of the gambling treatment ecosystem with greater data and insights via its maps.

Accompanying the launch of the NGSN has been extensive campaigning, whilst GambleAware has also sought to adopt a more regional-focused approach to its operations.

The group’s activity is occurring with a shifting paradigm in the UK in the aftermath of the Gambling Act review. 

White Paper recommendations on a research, education and treatment (RET) levy came to a head last week with the release of DCMS’ plans for the initiative, which if fully implemented will see GambleAware lose its position as the commissioner of UK gambling treatment funding, being replaced by the NHS.

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