Gordon Moody Association (GMA) has reaffirmed its commitment to support women affected by gambling-related harm by opening the first residential treatment centre for female gamblers in 2021.
The centre, which will be the first both in the UK and across the world, will be based in the Midlands and will offer a unique, safe environment to treat 24 women who are severely impacted by gambling disorders on an annual basis.
Gordon Moody chief executive Matthew Hickey said: “Gambling is the hidden addiction and hidden further again within that is the story of women gamblers and women who are affected others. There is an absolutely urgent need to change this and the impact of Covid means this is a growing crisis that needs to be tackled with more expertise and resources.
“Gordon Moody Association has been addressing this challenge for a number of years through its retreat and counselling programme, and we now have plans to expand our treatment capacity within the next year to help urgently deal with this growing challenge.
“But we feel this is just the beginning of what needs to be done and we will be arguing for much more capacity to be built and expert therapists to be trained in future.”
The new Gordon Moody programme has pledged to:
- Be inclusive of LGBT and BAME communities as well as other ethnic and minority groups as the UK Gambling Commission evidences the prevalence of gambling-related harm to be higher among these groups.
- Set up a residential treatment centre that will initially cater for 24 women with disordered gambling on a yearly basis.
- Provide support tailored to the needs of women from ethnic and minority groups
- Offer counselling to the friends and families of the affected gambler
Last year, data collected from Gamcare, Gamble Aware and Gambling Therapy (as part of the National Gambling Treatment Service) revealed that 30% of helpline calls came from women, with 59% seeking help for another and 41% seeking help for themselves. This equates to approximately 9,000 women.
Meanwhile an increase of more than 100,000 women accessed GMA’s Gambling Therapy website, taking the total number of hits from women to more than one million. Of the total visits to the site, nearly 90,000 were from the UK, marking a 76% increase from the previous year.
Annika Lindberg, trustee of GMA, added: “The number of women gambling in the UK has increased significantly in recent years. The rise of online gambling and the targeting of women with gambling advertising has led to an increased uptake of gambling amongst women in the UK.
“There is little doubt that women suffer even more from the stigma and shame surrounding gambling addiction. Treatment services have historically been geared towards dealing with the behaviours and causes we see in men. “While there will be similarities, there are also distinct differences between the causes, symptoms and drivers of male and female gambling behaviour.
“With the growing visibility of women reaching out for help, there is still work required to ensure that women get the right support, right treatment and right environment to deal with the range of complex issues that need to be tackled in helping them address their gambling disorder.”
By opening up this new centre, GMA will ensure that those women affected by gambling addiction will receive better quality and more extensive support and treatment. The women will come from all social and economic backgrounds and will undergo a treatment programme that effectively recognises the wider issues surrounding the gambling.
In a statement, GMA revealed that in 2019, its women’s retreat and counselling programme had received more than 160 applications for the 36 available places – highlighting the demand for services which support and are tailored to women.
The new residential centre will see service users engage with those with lived experience and use the latest research in a programme that recognises the wider issues surrounding gambling disorder in women.
The centre has received core funding through support from Halesowen-based business InTouch Games Limited, a developer of multiple brands in the mobile gaming sector.
A spokesperson for InTouch Games Ltd concluded: “We are proud and honoured to be working in partnership with the Gordon Moody Association in the development of such a unique and ground-breaking project.
“This is a financial investment in furthering the critical work carried out by Gordon Moody, but it’s also about investing in the safer gambling culture of our whole organisation and raising awareness of our staff, customers and partners about the potential impact of gambling on the lives of vulnerable women and the barriers to treatment that they experience.
“Working with the talented and dedicated team at Gordon Moody is undoubtedly deepening our knowledge and appreciation of issues surrounding problem gambling which, in turn, drives our commitment to do everything we can to protect our customers from experiencing harm.”