A new report backed by GambleAware reveals that more than two-thirds of British adults experiencing gambling problems conceal the issue rather than seeking help. The report, commissioned by GambleAware and led by Ipsos, looked at the barriers preventing people from opening up about gambling problems. The study surveyed 4,207 adults aged 18-75 across Britain.
Of those experiencing gambling problems, 64% stated that they had never spoken to anyone about it. Reasons for not seeking help included stigma and discrimination, with 39% attributing their silence to these factors. Further barriers included feelings of shame or guilt (17%), fear of judgment (13%), and the belief that they could handle the problem themselves (24%).
The report also found that there is often a delay in seeking help, with 67% of those who spoke to someone doing so within 12 months, while 28% waited more than a year. However, those who did open up felt better for doing so, with 76% reporting positive feelings about speaking to someone, and 63% expressing a wish to have sought help sooner.
The most common reasons why individuals sought help were the negative impact of gambling on their mental health, finances, or desire to reduce or stop gambling. The primary contact point for individuals seeking help was family, with 34% of respondents who spoke to someone reaching out to a family member.
In terms of types of gambling, instant win games were considered the most addictive, with 71% of all respondents and 68% of past 12-month gamblers labeling them “very” or “fairly” addictive. The report also highlighted that instant win games, scratchcards, and casino card games were most commonly associated with addictive behaviors.
GambleAware plans to roll out a national public health campaign to reduce the stigma associated with gambling harm. This campaign, which aims to encourage more people to speak up about their gambling problems, has received support from various individuals, including football commentator Clive Tyldesley and presenter Scott Thomas, who has personal experience with gambling harm. Additionally, gambling minister Stuart Andrew expressed his support for the campaign, emphasizing the importance of raising awareness and providing support for those affected by gambling harm.