With Safer Gambling Week drawing to a close in the UK, there has been a flurry of initiatives and press releases detailing everything that has been going on. To kick-off, let’s take a look at the charity news this week.
Much has been made over the last few months about the lack of detailed research when it comes to Safer Gambling, which is one of the reasons why the commissioning of another study by GambleAware is welcome.
Their second Annual GB Treatment and Support Demand Survey went live earlier this month and will run concurrently with three other studies with identical questions. The size of the Annual survey has been increased from 12,000 to 18,000 participants, with YouGov conducting the research. It’ll focus on gambling behaviours and harms, as well as the barriers and facilitators in relation to providing treatment for gambling-related problems.
The increased participation will enable more granular data to be obtained, particularly around the geographic area, age and ethnicity, while the combination of this survey with three others – Yonda’s additional quota survey and two random probability surveys run by NatCen and Kantar – should showcase how different methodologies provide different estimates.
All of this will be compared, with information being released next Spring.
GamCare have also announced a new research programme this week and have asked for volunteers to get involved. Click on the link for more details.
They are collaborating with City University and research agencies LAB and Ignition House to study online gambling behaviours and vulnerabilities.
There is still not enough information on potential indicators of vulnerability and harm when it comes to online gambling.
“This research aims to make online gambling significantly safer, with the vision of developing knowledge and interventions that protect gamblers by moving them away from harm and towards protection in digital gambling environments,” GamCare detailed in a statement.
Earlier in the week Gamcare also published a report detailing the progress of the Leeds Community Gambling Service after one year of it being launched.
The service helps to identify and screen those who are affected by gambling-related harm, as well as providing tailored treatment and support for both them and their families. It’s a partnership set up with Leeds City Council alongside the NHS Northern Gambling Service and NECA.
During this year, more than 150 clients have used their services, while 30 more partnerships have been secured with local services. There has been an average wait time of less than 48 hours for access to essential support and treatment services for clients, with more than 600 people benefitting from training and briefing sessions on the recognition and addressing of gambling-related issues. The service has also adapted to the challenges posed by COVID by boosting online and telephone services.
Media Round-Up for Safer Gambling Week 2020
To mark Safer Gambling Week, iGaming Business have been leading with a number of thought pieces which approach the issue from a range of different perspectives.
Joanne Christie’s article on Wednesday highlighting the gender divide when it comes to tackling gambling-related harm is particularly important, with gambling addiction predominantly seen as a male problem.
However, online gambling has provided a safe place for women to gamble, with gambling addiction therapist Liz Karter explaining: “Online gambling has leapt the gender divide because women have available to them products that men would have more typically used in the past as women wouldn’t have wanted to go into the bookmakers.
“Online gambling has also leapt the social divide, so the middle-class professional woman that maybe never would have gone into a bingo hall or amusement arcade is now playing slots and bingo online.”
Furthermore, more women than ever are gambling, so it’s common sense that more women are also at risk of developing a gambling-related problem. Ian Semel of free counselling charity Breakeven backed this up, saying they are seeing more and more women presenting with a gambling problem.
While it’s important to accept there are often individual problems which lead to gambling-related issues for both men and women – and some of the motivations of men and women undoubtedly overlap – there is clearly much more work to be done to persuade women in particular to seek help.
Marina Smith of GamCare said: “It requires a systemic approach to raise awareness. We need to be raising the voices of women with lived experience and I think we need to be working with academics, looking at the research that is out there around women and gambling and making contributions to further research around the topic.
“That in turn can feed into policy and support the shaping of policy to look at responding to the needs of women.”
There are a number of things that operators could do now, including increasing the presence of women in responsible gaming advertising and tailoring their harm minimisation tools.
Earlier in the week, Robin Harrison made the case why Responsible Gaming should be the backbone of the industry in future, based on market research conducted during the coronavirus pandemic.
Research from Deloitte Digital suggests 62% of UK customers are more likely to spend with companies that have taken extra steps to protect their customers, and the iGaming industry needs to seize on this if it’s to improve its already tarnished image.
The approach must come from the top down and permeate throughout each organisation, with targets related to Responsible Gaming. The article presents a number of industry perspectives and gives much food for thought.
On Friday, Keith Whyte of the National Council on Problem Gambling in the US highlighted the differences between the UK and US approaches to gambling-related harm.
People expect the UK Government to be involved in the reduction of gambling-related harm – indeed this is one of the primary motivators of the review of the 2005 Gambling Act – but this is not the case in the US, where there is no national gambling regulator and the federal health agency doesn’t spend a penny on the issue.
Eight states where sports betting is legal still refuse to provide public funds for the treatment of gambling problems, meaning the private sector often needs to step in. This means there is a greater burden on operators to ensure player safety, but without the bureaucracy and red tape that usually goes with government, it does mean they can be innovative in their responsible gambling initiatives.
Finally, EPIC Risk Management, a consultancy specialising in the minimisation of gambling-related harm, has entered a new agreement with the RecoverMe app.
Through the app, which was launched by three junior doctors in September and empowers people to manage gambling addiction from their pocket, EPIC will deliver their educational programmes which support people at risk or who already are suffering from gambling-related harm.
Patrick Foster, Epic Risk Management’s director of educational programmes, said: “RecoverMe shares many of Epic’s values and approaches to reducing gambling-related harm. They share Epic’s belief of how integral education is to provide a holistic approach to support individuals who may be at risk of developing a gambling addiction, or those who are already experiencing one.
“Furthermore, Epic recognises and believes that everyone who is struggling with issues with gambling addiction is able to access support and treatment, and RecoverMe allows individuals who may not have a recognised support pathway to immediate, accessible and effective treatment. We are looking forward to collaborating with them moving forward in selected programmes.”
Andrew Morgan, Director, Dam Mad Media