Thirty percent rise in calls seeking gambling assistance

News on 24 Oct 2018

Calls to the UK-wide National Gambling Helpline from people with a gambling problem have escalated 30 percent in the past five years, the organisation reported Tuesday, revealing that it took 29,889 calls in 2017-18, up from 22,875 in 2013-14.

Anna Hemmings, the chief executive of the National Gambling Helpline, said about two-thirds of calls were about financial problems while about 50 percent of callers were worried about their mental health.

Funding for the helpline comes in part from Gamble Aware, an independent national charity funded by donations from the gambling industry.

Hemmings urged anyone with a gambling problem to make contact as soon as possible.

“We can work very effectively and in quite a short space of time,” she said. “That will help reduce the impact on family and the impact of gambling-related harm more broadly.”

Tim Miller, executive director at the Gambling Commission, told the BBC: “It is important that those struggling with gambling are able to access support when they need it.

“But a focus on preventing harm in the first place is equally important [and] that’s why we will continue to take actions to require gambling companies to spot those being harmed by gambling and step in to protect them.”

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson said: “We are cutting the maximum fixed odds betting terminal stake to £2 and introducing increased safeguards on online gambling.

“On top of that we have brought in tougher rules on betting adverts and ensured the betting industry funds a new multi-million pound responsible gambling campaign.”

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