Whilst plenty of people in the UK enjoy an occasional flutter, on a football accumulator or on the horses, there is no denying that ‘problem gambling’ is one of the toughest things our society has to face up to.
Problem gambling comes in many forms, and is linked to addictive behaviours, but we want to talk about ‘problem gambling’ in more general terms.
So, what are the key statistics we need to be aware of?
- 5%of the UK’s adult population are problem gamblers. This might seem like an insignificant percentage, but it amounts to hundreds of thousands of people.
- 15%of online gamblers have been gambling in the workplace in the past four weeks. This shows how the addictive behaviours associated with problem gambling can take over a person’s life.
- 1%of gamblers have bet more than they can afford to lose. Clearly, betting more than you can afford to lose leads to debt.
- Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK between £260 million and £1.2 billion per year. This is far from an insignificant amount of taxpayer’s money.
- 7% of gamblers said they did so as a way to “earn money to get by day-to-day”. This isn’t a sustainable or healthy relationship with gambling.
The situation is about as serious as it can get.
Thousands of punters push themselves and their families into financial uncertainty, insecurity, and ultimately, debt, on a weekly basis.
The presence of bookmakers on every single high street doesn’t do much for some of the worst affected communities, whilst every single televised sporting event seems to be endorsed by betting company after betting company.
In our society, gambling really is everywhere.
So, what can we do about it?
As with any addiction, the first step is acknowledging the problem.
This can be extremely difficult, especially when a ‘problem gambler’ is keeping their activity a secret from those around them.
Often, great shame accompanies this type of behaviour, and so patience, rather than questioning is usually the best option for those interested in helping someone.
Many bookmakers and gambling sites offer services such as limits on how much you can spend, trackers so you can keep tabs on your winnings and losses, as well as temporary suspensions of accounts.
This is all well and good for most people, and there are a great number of UK punters who are able to engage with the message ‘when the fun stops, stop’, however for those people who are addicted to gambling, more measures must be put in place.
One service that people may find useful is Gamban, who offer a ‘TalkBanStop’ approach aimed at helping people come to terms with their problem gambling. TalkBanStop is a pilot between GamCare, Gamban, and Gamstop whereby people can contact GamCare for a free Gamban license, speak with a counsellor, and self-exclude from sites licensed in Great Britain through Gamstop.
It’s not easy, but it can be done.
www.gamban.com offers a service that blocks and bans certain users from operating gambling websites.
It’s a vital step to changing the behaviours that lead to debt.
According to their website, “Gamban is gambling blocking software that blocks access to gambling websites and apps at device level, this includes the black-market and unregulated sites…”
And what about the debt?
That’s where we come in.
Once the problem that contributes to creating the debt is under control, The Debt Advice Service can start to make inroads on addressing things such as creating repayment plans, issues with court enforcement letters and visits, and even with a cancellation or partial reduction to certain debts.
It all starts with a conversation at www.thedebtadviceservice.co.uk and from there we’ll be able to help you with:
- Your own dedicated point of contact
- Support from an expert team with 100+ years of combined experience
- Communication via multiple popular channels
- Clear assistance every step of the way
- Non-judgemental, private, and confidential approach
Gambling and debt may be a national problem, but the solutions require a personal approach.