In the UK, licensed gambling operators are held to high standards regarding the promotion of responsible gambling. While measures such as deposit, loss and time limits can help gamblers remain in control of their gambling activity, some require a little more support to keep their habits under control. Thankfully, there are plenty of UK gambling charities that provide such help to those who are suffering, as well as their loved ones. Let’s take a look at what kind of support is available and where can you find it.
GambleAware is an independent charity that funds problem gambling related, education and treatment in Great Britain. While GambleAware commissions these services and helps those in need of help get support as soon as possible, the organisation itself does not provide them directly.
The charity is published by the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG), which estimates that GambleAware requires at least £10 million per year in order to cover its responsibilities, as suggested under the National Responsible Gambling strategy. Much of this funding comes from UKGC licensed gambling operators as part of their compliance to the UKGC Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), whereby licensees must make an annual financial contribution to organisations that have a formal commitment to “research into prevention and treatment of gambling-related harm, develop harm prevention approaches and identify and fund treatment to those harmed by gambling.”
Gamble Aware also operates BeGambleAware.org, which provides information to help gamblers make informed decisions about their gambling activity. This website has a range of different resources, including guides on how to gamble safely and how to recognise problem gambling, as well as information on who to contact if visitors are looking for support.
Founded in 1997, GamCare provides confidential and non-judgemental support and advice to those affected by gambling addiction. Funded by voluntary donations that are managed by GambleAware, the charity offers support, resources and treatments for both problem gamblers and their families. GamCare seeks to minimise problem gambling in the UK by increasing awareness of problematic behaviour and education on how to gamble responsibly.
As part of its aim to support those affected by problem gambling, GamCare operates the National Gambling HelpLine and NetLine, telephone and live chat services that offer one-to-one advice and emotional support, as well as advice on what steps to take next. The HelpLine and NetLine services are open from 8am until midnight seven days a week, offering specialist advice to those affected by gambling. Gamblers can also make use of GamCare’s online forums and group chatrooms to share their experiences and seek advice from others in similar positions 24/7.
The charity regularly audits its services to ensure the high quality and is accredited by external bodies, such as The Helplines Partnership, The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the British Assessment Bureau (ISO 9001).
Contact GamCare via HelpLine (0808 8020 133) or live chat.
Gordon Moody Association
Gordon Moody Association (GMA) provides residential support and treatment for those that are severely addicted to gambling. The charity offered its first support centre in 1971, and now has two UK treatment centres that help those with gambling problems overcome their addiction. GMA also offers online support via its Gambling Therapy service and app. Its staff and volunteers are a mix of those that have direct experience with problem gambling (having suffered themselves or supported a loved one) and trained counsellors and support workers.
GMA also offers support to people after their initial treatment, helping with their reintegration into everyday life and to maintain their recovery. You can apply online and via telephone for GMA residential services, but you can also refer someone if you’re a concerned family member, friend or social or health worker- the only caveat is that the referred person must agree to receive help. Applicants will undergo an interview process prior to acceptance to ensure that the treatment is suitable for them.
The services are mostly free, thanks to funding from GambleAware and GamCare, as well as other voluntary donations. However, there may be a need for contributions to residential services.
Contact Gordon Moody Association via telephone (01384 241292) or email ([email protected]ody.org.uk)
Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust
According to UKGC statistics, 26% of 11 to 16-year-olds have seen their parents gamble and a staggering 66% have seen gambling advertising on television. The Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) seeks to minimise and prevent the impact that such exposure to gambling has on young people. This charity was founded by Lee Willows, following his own problematic experience with gambling. Recognising that charities were key to his recovery, he wanted to give something back to prevent others from experiencing similar problems.
YGAM conducts research into the relationship between young people and gambling and provides gambling-related harm prevention programmes for young people, as well as delivering accredited training to teachers, youth workers, and others in a position of authority to deliver these programmes. This scheme and its resources have been accredited by ASDAN and its quality assured by the PSHE Association.
Problem Gambling Support Services
There are also peer support services for those addicted to gambling and those affected by gambling addiction.
GamblersAnonymous UK was founded in 1964 and operates a number of support groups around the UK for gamblers with compulsive habits. The groups provide peer support meetings across the country for those in recovery, as well as online chat rooms and forums for recovering compulsive gamblers to share their experiences and advice round-the-clock.
GamAnon runs support groups for friends and family of compulsive gamblers to provide practical assistance and comfort. While meetings are usually held in the same location and at the same time as GamblersAnonymous meetings, they take place in separate rooms and information is never shared between the two. GamAnon also runs online meetings every Sunday evening between 8 pm and 9 pm.
It’s rarely just the addiction to gambling with which problem gamblers require help. Whether you or someone you know requires advice on debt management, mental health support or any other type of support, there are charities that can help:
Samaritans– You can contact Samaritans when you simply need someone to talk to.
National Debtline– The National Debtline provides free, confidential advice on how to deal with debt.
National Domestic Violence Helpline– This helpline offers confidential support to women and children, or friends of women and children, who have experienced domestic violence.
Respect Phoneline– Respect Phoneline provides information and advice for people that are abusive towards their partners.
Drinkaware– This organisation supports those that have concerns about drinking habits.
Report a loan shark– Check that a company is authorised to lend money and report illegal loan sharks that may take advantage of gamblers.
Don’t hesitate to seek help if you ever think that your gambling habits are spiralling out of your control or that they may be unhealthy. Any support you receive from these charities is completely impartial and confidential- it is designed simply to help you recover and maintain your recovery.