GamCare, the operator of the National Gambling Helpline, has become the latest treatment and support stakeholder to raise concerns on the UK’s cost of living crisis.
The charity outlined concerns that day-to-day financial pressures are changing consumer motivations to make money as a means to make ends meet, increasing the risk of gambling participation.
Alerting wider stakeholders, GamCare published the insights of a new YouGov survey commissioned by the charity examining cost of living risks and the impact on gambling attitudes.
Examining a UK-representative sample of 4,000 participants, YouGov results detailed that 46% of respondents were actively concerned about their current financial situation.
Anxieties deepened amongst gambling participants, which saw financial concerns rise to 61% of respondents who outlined worries about their financial affairs.
Supporting the survey’s findings, GamCare pointed to ‘frontline concerns’ from its helpline advisors that have reported an increase of ‘callers on Universal Credit’ who have gambled money to cover bills, and of former victims of problem gambling that have relapsed due to financial pressures.
GamCare Chief Executive Anna Hemmings commented: “Our helpline advisers are hearing that the cost of living is impacting people’s gambling behaviours- particularly those gamblers who have recovered. We are currently developing a new in-house Money Guidance Service to better support people using our services, with financial difficulties and debt.”
“We also know that our team are hearing from more and more people who are reaching out for help around crypto trading. It is concerning to see the survey data, which suggests that those who have experienced serious gambling harms are more likely to experience negative impacts when crypto trading, such as chasing their losses, feeling overwhelmed and not being able to pay their bills.”
Of further significance, GamCare’s survey highlighted changes in consumer trends that pointed to the take-up of high-risk trading and investing offered by cryptocurrency services.
Though not necessarily connected to gambling, GamCare stated that it had an “increasing concern for people experiencing issues related to cryptocurrencies, particularly for problem gamblers”.
Survey feedback noted that two-thirds of low-level problem gamblers (66%) were motivated to buy cryptocurrencies to make money, a response that was significantly higher than problem gamblers (24%).
Raising further concerns were motivations given by participants classified as problematic gamblers with 25% of the group stating that they wanted to invest in cryptocurrencies to recoup their losses.
Cryptocurrencies were recognised as a popular trend with younger members participating in the survey as 17% of 16- to 24-year-olds respondents stated that they owned a cryptocurrency – with parental awareness of purchases deemed to be low.
Participation in Cryptocurrencies was thought to be highest amongst 16- to 34-year-old males, who were reported as most likely to own cryptocurrencies – with 33% of respondents having brought a cryptocurrency at some point.
Gamcare concluded its update by launching its 25th-anniversary campaign providing gambling harm treatment and support services.
The campaign is fronted by S Club Singer Jo O’Meara and former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton reflecting on their lived experience of problem-gambling.
The duo were interviewed in a short film by Matt Burgiss, who delivers education and training programmes at GamCare, and has lived experience of gambling addiction.
Anna Hemmings, Chief Executive at GamCare, has said: “For 25 years, GamCare has helped people experiencing problems with gambling. Over this time, we’ve gained knowledge and expertise from working collaboratively, including with people who have lived experience, on how to best support those affected by gambling harms – including gamblers, their family and friends.
“As we turn 25, and look to the upcoming Gambling Act Review, we will continue to raise awareness of gambling issues, including newer trends, and become more accessible to help people spot the signs and reach out for support. We urge anyone who is struggling with gambling to contact us. Whether you’re concerned for yourself or for others, we’re here to support you.”