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GambleAware: BAME communities disproportionately impacted by gambling harms

GambleAware has this morning published the findings of its ‘secondary analysis’ conducted by YouGov regarding levels of gambling harm and access to treatment support among BAME adults

YouGov’s analysis supports GambleAware research on the ethnic make-up of UK problem gambling undertaken in 2019, which led the charity to conduct further research into BAME communities and their gambling behaviours.   

Research findings indicate that one-in-five BAME adults surveyed identified as experiencing ‘some level of problem gambling harm’ – registering a problem gambling severity index of 1 – (PGSI-1).

The results are ‘significantly higher’ when compared against the 12% of white adults classified as PGSI-1, and having experienced some level of problems associated with their gambling behaviours.   

The trend is repeated at the higher end of the index as 7% of BAME adults surveyed carried a PGSI-8, classified as ‘high-risk problem gamblers’, significantly greater than the 2% PGSI-8 maintained by white adults. 

Further to revealing higher levels of harm, YouGov’s research indicated a greater demand for treatment required among ‘problem gamblers from minority ethnic communities’.

Three quarters (75%) of ‘problem gamblers’ from BAME backgrounds stated that they required some form of treatment, support, or advice, compared with 49% of white ‘problem gamblers’. 

YouGov research indicates a higher level of treatment usage within minority ethnic communities, with seven out of 10 (71%) ‘problem gamblers’ having reported using some form of treatment, support and advice, compared to under half of white ‘problem gamblers’ (46%).

Potential motivators among respondents for seeking treatment, support, or advice included: knowing they could get help over the phone (25%) and recognising that help was confidential and free of charge (both 18%).

Briony Gunstone, Research Director at YouGov, stated: This research shines a light on the disproportionate impact of gambling harms on Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities. It also indicates a particularly high demand for treatment, support, and advice, tailored to these affected groups. 

“The survey highlighted that increased awareness of support would motivate at-risk gamblers to seek assistance. It is vital, therefore, to highlight the range of different services available, including telephone helplines such as the National Gambling Helpline, to make accessing treatment, advice, and support easier for gamblers from a minority ethnic background.”

GambleAware added that YouGov’s BAME findings contradict data observed by the ‘2019/20 National Gambling Treatment Service’ – which did not reflect ‘the higher levels of demand and usage reported in the YouGov survey’.

Analysed together, the studies suggest that substantial numbers of BAME ‘problem gamblers’ will access treatment and support through services outside of the National Gambling Treatment Service.

Continuing its research in 2021, GambleAware will focus on building knowledge of ‘lived problem gambling experiences’ by BAME adults. 

The charity states that reflections of problem gambling experienced by BAME adults are required to bridge barriers on treatment support and how to better allocate resources for BAME communities –  in terms of developing appropriate treatment, support, and advice services that reflect individuals’ needs.

The prevalence of high levels of gambling harms among minority ethnic communities, coupled with the significant demand for access to treatment, support, and advice demonstrates the clear need to further strengthen and improve the existing provisions on offer,” said GambleAware Chief Executive, Marc Etches. “Services must be flexible, meet the varying needs of individuals and it is vital they are easy to access for all minority groups.

 “This will require active engagement with communities on the ground to understand their lived experiences and to design services in accordance with these.  

“GambleAware will draw on the insights from these reports to inform additional investment in treatment and support services to address disparities between different communities.”

Alongside the work with YouGov, GambleAware has also published a review of the ‘international evidence base’ to explore what is known about the drivers for the disproportionate burden of gambling harms on minority communities, including minority ethnic communities.

Having analysed existing research in this area, GambleAware highlights a comparative lack of in-depth research with UK academics to establish the underlying drivers of gambling harms in minority communities, compared to international studies. 

The international evidence review will also support the need to engage directly with communities and recognise their ‘inequitable contexts’ to better understand the driving forces of widespread gambling harm.

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