GambleAware has initiated a new campaign warning women about the dangers of problem betting, after identifying how up to one million could be at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm.
The campaign focuses on promoting three key warning signs to female bettors – losing track of time; spending more than can be afforded; and keeping gambling secret from friends and family.
Issuing an update, the responsible gambling and harm minimisation charity detailed that 39% of women may refrain from seeking help or treatment for problem gambling due to perceived stigma, embarrassment or simply not wanting people to know about their betting activity.
“We are launching this new gambling harm prevention campaign at a time when there may be up to a million women at risk of gambling harms,” said Zoe Osmund, GambleAware CEO.
“Our research shows women may not be aware they are starting to experience harm from gambling or, may be worried about reaching out for support due to stigma or shame. That’s why our campaign highlights the warning signs to look out for, so we can support women who gamble and prevent them from developing gambling harms.
GambleAware also detailed that the number of women receiving treatment for gambling has doubled over the past five years, rising from 1,134 from 2015/16 to 2,424 in 2020/21.
The charity maintains that only “a fraction of those who are experiencing gambling harms” use the National Gambling Treatments Service (NGTS) or the National Helpline, despite a ‘growing number’ accessing these services.
Chris Philp, Gambling Minister, commented on the new campaign: “I welcome this campaign to increase awareness of problem gambling among women. It’s vital that we continue to do all we can to protect those at risk from gambling-related harm.
“The gambling landscape has evolved immeasurably in the past 15 years and our comprehensive gambling act review will ensure our gambling laws offer the right balance of protections in the digital age.”
In support of its new campaign, GambleAware has initiated a video launch featuring television and radio personality Angellica Bell, who discussed gambling harm faced by women with Liz Karter MBE, a gambling addiction counsellor, and GP Dr Ellie Cannon.
GamblesAware’s new campaign follows a period in which the charity has become increasingly invested in investigating the impact of harmful gambling on women, having awarded a £250,000 grant to research team exploring the topic in November 2021.
“While the economic costs of harmful gambling are stark, the cost to individuals and those around them as a result of their addiction cannot be overstated,” Gillian Keegan, Health Minister, remarked.
“This campaign is a fantastic way to raise awareness about the harms of gambling which can impact an individual, as well as their friends and family. By highlighting the early warning signs, supporting women and providing advice we can help to stop harmful gambling dead in its tracks.
“More widely, we are working to protect vulnerable people from the damaging impacts gambling can have, including through specialist NHS gambling addiction clinics, as part of our investment of an extra £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24 to expand mental health services.”