GambleAware Report Examines Britons’ Hidden Gambling Struggles
A new report supported by charity GambleAware has found that almost two-thirds of adults struggling with gambling in Britain conceal their problems rather than seek help.
The study, led by Ipsos, looked at the obstacles faced when discussing gambling issues. Surveying 4,207 adults in Britain aged between 18 and 75, it found that 64% of those with gambling problems had never discussed it with anyone and 39% of these people said that it is due to fears of stigma and discrimination.
The study found that the main obstacles to seeking help include feelings of shame or guilt (17%) and apprehension about being judged (13%). Almost a quarter, 24%, felt they could handle the issue independently. The report also found a general delay in seeking help, noting that while 67% eventually talked to someone within a year, 28% waited longer than twelve months.
The Benefits of Sharing Gambling Problems
The study found that those who did open up about their problems were glad they had done so, with 76% having a positive experience in opening up, and 63% expressed regret for not seeking help earlier. Among those who shared their problems, 61% reported a significant impact on their lives due to gambling.
The primary motivators for seeking help included the adverse effects on mental health (23%), financial strain (22%), and a desire to reduce or stop gambling (21%). When it came to confiding in someone, family members were the most common source of support, with 34% turning to their relatives.
GambleAware’s Campaign for Open Conversations
Building on earlier research focused on Scotland, this report is GambleAware’s second major study this year. It has inspired a nationwide public health campaign in Britain aimed at reducing the stigma around gambling harm. The next phase of this initiative is designed to encourage more open discussions about gambling issues.
Prominent figures, including football commentator Clive Tyldesley and presenter Scott Thomas, are participating in the campaign, sharing their experiences and views. While GambleAware’s chief executive, Zoë Osmond, emphasized the importance of recognizing gambling as a hidden addiction and the need for accessible support services.
It’s alarming to see the number of people who are struggling in isolation. As a hidden addiction, gambling harms can be incredibly hard to spot from the outside. It is therefore critical that people impacted are aware of the wide range of support services available and that they feel safe to come forward. Anyone can be impacted by gambling harms, but the first step is to open up and have that first conversation, ideally as early as possible.