The Gordon Moody Association (GMA) will open a residential treatment centre for female gamblers in 2021.

Based in the Midlands, the centre will be the first of its kind in the world.

24 women suffering from serious gambling problems will gain access to treatment each year.

Seeking to build an inclusive environment

The GMA programme will purposefully include BAME and LGBT+ communities. with the association pointing to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) revealing that these groups suffer disproportionately from gambling-related harms.

The GMA will tailor its support for BAME women, while friends and family will also receive access to counselling.

“The hidden addiction” 

GMA Chief Executive Matthew Hickey had the following to say about the soon-to-open centre.

“Gambling is the hidden addiction and hidden further again within that is the story of women gamblers and women who are affected others. There is an urgent need to change this, and the impact of COVID means this is a growing crisis that needs to be tackled with more expertise and resources.

“Gordon Moody Association has been addressing this challenge for a number of years through its retreat and counselling programme, and we now have plans to expand our treatment capacity within the next year to help urgently deal with this growing challenge.

“But we feel this is just the beginning of what needs to be done and we will be arguing for much more capacity to be built and expert therapists to be trained in future.”

The effects of problem gambling on women 

According to statistics collected last year by GamCare, GambleAware and Gambling Therapy, 30% of callers to the National Gambling Helpline identified as female. Of these, 41% (around 9,000 women) were seeking help for their own problems.

The GMA’s Gambling Therapy website has also been visited by women more than a million times. There was a year-on-year increase of 100,000.

GMA Trustee Annika Lindberg also spoke about the effects of problem gambling on women. She said:

“The number of women gambling in the UK has increased significantly in recent years. The rise of online gambling and the targeting of women with gambling advertising has led to an increased uptake of gambling amongst women in the UK.

“There is little doubt that women suffer even more from the stigma and shame surrounding gambling addiction. Treatment services have historically been geared towards dealing with the behaviours and causes we see in men.

“While there will be similarities, there are also distinct differences between the causes, symptoms and drivers of male and female gambling behaviour.

“With the growing visibility of women reaching out for help, there is still work required to ensure that women get the right support, right treatment and the right environment to deal with the range of complex issues that need to be tackled in helping them address their gambling disorder.”