Survey Shows the Role of Gambling Struggles in the Holiday Season

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The festive season is typically a time of joy, laughter, and togetherness. However, for a significant number of people struggling with harmful gambling habits, this time of year brings unique challenges and added stress.

A recent survey conducted by support service GamCare has shed light on the extent of the issue, revealing that almost half of individuals gambling at harmful levels have dipped into their Christmas funds to fuel their habit.

Survey Reveals Disturbing Impact of Gambling Addiction

The survey, which was conducted by YouGov and involved 2,024 adults, took place between November 30 and December 1. Its findings are a stark reminder of the impact of gambling addiction during the holiday season.

One of the most concerning findings of the survey is that nearly 44% of those classified as harmful gamblers admitted to using money set aside for Christmas presents to fund their gambling. This not only jeopardizes their own financial stability but also has the potential to disrupt the holiday celebrations of their loved ones who were expecting gifts.

In addition to the financial strain caused by gambling, the poll also highlighted the emotional toll it takes. Half of the harmful gamblers surveyed (50%) reported feeling increased anxiety or depression in the lead-up to Christmas.

The holiday season is often associated with social gatherings and spending quality time with family and friends. However, for more than 41% of those with harmful gambling habits, their addiction could be a distraction that prevents them from fully participating in these festive activities.

Holiday Season Gambling Challenges

GamCare, the charity behind the survey, emphasized the challenges faced by those struggling with gambling addiction during the Christmas period. With many people receiving their paychecks earlier in December, there's a risk of extended periods without income during the financially demanding month of January.

Furthermore, the desire for quick financial gains, especially when the season is synonymous with gift-giving, can drive individuals towards risky gambling behaviors. The allure of big wins can become particularly enticing during this time, making it essential for those affected by gambling harm to seek support and assistance.

Samantha Turton, head of remote support services at GamCare, expressed concern over the survey's findings and extended a helping hand to those in need. The charity offers various support channels, including a helpline, live chat, and WhatsApp, for individuals who may not feel comfortable discussing their issues with family and friends during the festive season.

NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch emphasized the seriousness of gambling addiction and encouraged those struggling to seek help. The NHS has opened support centers and has invested £2.3 billion in mental health services, including the establishment of 12 gambling harm clinics to provide assistance to those affected.

UK Government Takes Action to Curb Gambling-Related Harm

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport also acknowledged the issue and emphasized its commitment to protecting individuals from gambling-related harm. Measures like financial risk checks and online slot stake limits are being introduced to mitigate potential losses. Additionally, a new mandatory levy on gambling operators will generate £100 million dedicated to research, prevention, and treatment of gambling harms.

As the festive season approaches, it's crucial to recognize the challenges that individuals with harmful gambling habits face and offer support to those in need. GamCare's helpline advisers are available around the clock, including Christmas Day, to provide assistance and guidance. With the right help and support, individuals can regain control of their lives and find healthier ways to enjoy the holiday season.

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