In 2016, GamCare revealed the Northeast of England had the highest levels of gambling related harm with at least 26% of people admitting to hiding their gambling habit. As a result of these shocking statistics, the area was hailed as the gambling capital of Britain. Spiralling debts, crime and violence have escalated in recent years stigma surrounding gambling is at an all-time high, but Yorkshire and the Humber want to change that and will aim to after successfully securing £800K in funding from a regulatory settlement approved by the Gambling Commission.
Plans have been revealed to educate and provide support to individuals and their families experiencing problem gambling in a new three-year programme bed by Public Health directors in the region. Greg Fell, chair of the Yorkshire and Humber harmful gambling working group, said: “We aim to deliver a gold standard programme that can be replicated across the UK.
We are in the unique position of having a diverse population across city, town, rural and coastal environments, which offers the potential for an effective activity blueprint that could be used by other regions. We know high deprivation areas and low-income workers are disproportionately negatively affected by gambling, so this will be our focus.”
Educate to Eradicate:
How will it work? Acceptance is vital, and unless a problem gambling decides to own up to their problem, whether that be spending too much money on casino, bingo or sports betting, things will only get worse. There is a huge mountain to climb in terms of helping problem gamblers, but the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms will start at the ground at work up with resources being used to identify those at risk and by taking the issue directly to the workplace. The programme will also work with individuals and communities to protect high risk and vulnerable groups from gambling related harm plus offer resources to those who need it, as well services allowing gamblers to contact self-management support.
Tim Miller, executive director at the UKGC, was keen to offer his perspective on the new programme: “We welcome this ambitious project across Yorkshire and Humber. A cohesive public health approach to tackling gambling harms is exactly what the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms aims to stimulate. We are pleased to be able to approve the funding, which was agreed through a regulatory settlement.”
Continuing with: “Gambling is a problem when it impacts, disrupts or damages an individual, their family or interferes with daily life. It is vital we do all we can to protect the most vulnerable in society, given the pace at which the gambling industry is growing and developing.”
The programme may only be rolled out in the Northeast of England for now, but there are charities offering resources throughout the UK, both online and offline. If you or someone you know needs help to stop or reduce the amount being spent on gambling (loss limit), you can access free support at Be Gamble Aware, Safer Gambling and GamCare.
Source: “Yorkshire & Humber Nets £800,000 Funding to Tackle Gambling Harms”. Casino Beats. September 20, 2021.