GambleAware: Problem gamblers are engaging more with treatment support services

GambleAware has recorded a ‘positive increase’ in problem gamblers accessing treatment services through its improved network of support, despite dealing with COVID-19 circumstances.

This morning, GambleAware published the findings of its second ‘Treatment and Support’ survey conducted by YouGov – which carries out a review of the uptake of treatment and support services among gamblers and those affected by gambling harms.

The charity stated that its 2020 survey was carried out using a larger sample size of 19,000 adults, seeking deeper feedback on problem gambling prevalence recorded across the UK by age, gender, region and ethnic and socio-economic groups. 

Based on the 2020 YouGov survey, prevalence figures reported that 2.4% of adults were classified under the ‘PGSI 8+’ problem gamblers category.

Amongst problem gamblers, the research revealed a significant improvement in uptake of treatment services, with more than six in ten respondents (63%) seeking treatment, advice or support compared to just over half (54%) in November 2019.

The usage of treatment services increased from 43% to 53%, with GambleAware noting a further 19% increase in respondents seeking mental health advice.

In addition, GambleAware noted that 48% of problem gamblers were seeking support and advice, compared to 39% previously. This increase, says the charity, has largely been driven by the use of self-help apps or tools, including self-exclusion technology, which 14% reported using, up from 9% in 2019.

Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, said: “It is encouraging to see a year-on-year increase in those classified as ‘problem gamblers’ seeking help, especially during the pandemic. 

“These results will be used to help inform GambleAware’s new commissioning strategy as we continue our work to increase provision of and access to services.”

The research found that over half (59%) of problem gamblers reported wanting some form of treatment, advice, or support.

Providing feedback on support services, one in six problem gamblers (18%) who had not accessed any form of treatment or advice felt ‘that the quality of remote or online support would be worse for reasons such as lack of eye contact or being unable to read body language’.

Meanwhile, 16% of problem gamblers reported that they did not have a ‘private space’ to engage with treatment support service.

Barriers to seeking treatment for problem gamblers included concerns around stigma with a reported 22% of respondents stating that they would not want any form of support.

Problem gamblers who engaged with treatment services, stated that their motivation had been improved by recognising that support was offered via a particular channel (29%) and recognising that services were confidential (16%).

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