UK problem gambling support and treatment charity GamCare has reminded its betting industry and national health stakeholders that from 1 October 2019, the ‘National Gambling Helpline’ will be run as a 24-hour service.
The National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) updates its operating schedule of 8am-to-midnight, transforming into a ‘UK Helplines’ accredited 24-hour support structure open every day of the year.
GamCare is able to extend its support functions thanks to funding provided by GambleAware, allowing the charity to operate its helpline as a ‘two-year pilot scheme’ with the aim of offering instant round-the-clock support for anyone impacted by problem gambling across the UK.
The UK charity reminds stakeholders that its team of advisers are trained to further help the family and friends of problem gambling victims, providing advice and on treatment and support options available across local communities, online or over the phone.
Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, said: “It is important that treatment and support services reflect the availability of gambling. As such, we are delighted to be able to extend the hours of operation of the National Gambling Helpline to further support those affected by gambling related harm.
“With the 24-hour nature of gambling, people sometimes feel at their most isolated overnight, when other support services are closed. They will now be able to reach our highly trained advisers 24 hours a day, who can offer immediate support, advice and referral to our network of treatment services nationally.”
Helen Garratt, Director of Clinical Services, added: “GamCare provides a wide range of services to people in need, and we are very pleased that the helpline hours can now extend this support throughout the night. People can be trying hard to change their gambling, but the sheer availability of gambling options makes it a struggle. We hope that the new availability of the National Gambling Helpline will be able to match this round-the-clock activity and offer even more support.”
Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, commented: “GambleAware is responsible for commissioning the National Gambling Helpline, which is a core element of an emerging National Gambling Treatment Service. Our priority is to keep people safe and to ensure support services are easily accessible. As such, we are pleased to be funding an extension to the helpline’s operating hours, and we will evaluate its performance over time.”
Tim Miller, Executive Director at the Gambling Commission, said: “The pilot to extend the hours of the National Gambling Helpline is a very welcome step. GamCare’s specialist advisers are now there if people need support at any hour of the day. This change arose out of the input of people with lived experience into research and demonstrates why that continued input is vital.”